HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol agents have responded to almost 1,000 rescues in the 2021 fiscal year, according to a press release.
Border Patrol agents encountered over 412,000 migrants within the 2021 fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, 2020 and ends on Sept. 30.
“Summer heat has taken its toll on migrants,” the press release stated. “Most of the more than 100 migrants discovered deceased this fiscal year in the Rio Grande Valley, were on rugged ranchlands in south Texas.”
The release highlighted that migrants are exposed to dangers while entering the U.S., specifically heat-related illnesses during the summer.
“Checkpoint agents also remain vigilant for smuggling loads involving tractor-trailers as smugglers use holding capacities of trailers to maximize their profits, dangerously filling 50 to 100 people in non-ventilated containers for hours at a time,” stated the release.
Agents stationed in the Rio Grande Valley respond to calls from 911 and from family members that ask agents to search specific areas because someone was left behind.
“Regrettably, there are instances when loved ones find help and return with assistance only to find their loved one has succumbed to the elements,” stated the release.
Rescue beacons with lights and signs were placed throughout the isolated area in the RGV for people in distress to call for help. There are currently 24 rescue beacons in the RGV, and a total of 48 will be by the end of the fiscal year, according to the press release.
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