The Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Chief says there’s a slight increase in immigrant rescues compared to 2015. He says 549 crossers have been treated by agents this year. Meanwhile, at least 68 bodies have been found. Our Adriana Candelaria shows us how agents respond when an immigrant is in distress.
What you’re about to see if a mock immigrant rescue. What’s not fake, is that Border Patrol agents are dispatched after 911 calls on a daily basis. The person over the phone usually reports an immigrant is danger because the journey through the border has taken a toll on their health.
“We have a large number in comparison to other sectors of the deaths happening here, so we really want to focus on increasing the awareness in the dangers associated with crossing the border.”
Chief Padilla says in Fiscal Year 2000, 1.6 million immigrants were arrested across the Southwest Border. Last year the number dropped to 327, 000. Despite arrests being on a historic low.
“The Rio Grande Valley sector is the busiest as far as activity our western part, starting in Weslaco on West is our busiest area.”
During this exercise with the media, Border Patrol agents gave us an idea of what it’s like to run through the brush in Falfurrias.
I can tell you first-hand that thorns from the bushes spiked me as we ran through the sweat-drenching humidity.
After giving the media time to cool off, agents locked us inside a tractor trailer for ten minutes. The trailer had been in the sun all day. Of course, no air conditioning. For me the room began to spin. It was hard to breathe. While I’ve never fainted I thought for a moment today would be the first time.
“Border Patrol Agents say it happens on the daily to find immigrants stashed behind tractor trailers such as this one with no way out.”
The exercise is called “Walk in Their Shoes” but truly it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to stay locked inside the heat for more than 10 minutes.
For the past 18 years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has launched campaigns about the dangers in crossing the border. CBP hopes to continue raising awareness before immigrants make the journey to the American Dream. Chief Padilla also urges the community to report suspicious activity by calling 911.