WESLACO, Texas – A U.S. Border Patrol agent saved the lives of two men Saturday, who were struggling to swim in the Rio Grande.
Agents were working near the Pharr Port of Entry when three people suspected of being in the United States illegally jumped in the river to avoid apprehension. While attempting to swim to Mexico, two men began to struggle and were unable to continue. At that time, an agent jumped into the river and safely brought both men back onto the U.S. riverbank. The third individual safely made it back to Mexico. One of the rescued men is from Mexico and the other is from Honduras.
The agent who rescued the two men is detailed into the Rio Grande Valley Sector from the El Centro, Calif. Sector as part of the increase in agents to address the influx of illegal immigrants.
So far for fiscal year 2014, agents have saved the lives of more than 200 people, a decrease of about 45 percent over the same time period last year. Despite a significant increase in apprehensions, a decrease in rescues and deaths is a positive sign that the Border Patrol’s safety initiatives are working.
Illegally entering the United States is extremely dangerous. Extreme weather conditions, combined with rugged terrain, can rapidly cause an individual to become distressed and die from dehydration, exertion or other weather-related illnesses. Unscrupulous human smugglers prey upon the desperation of illegal immigrants and exploit them for profit. Human smugglers are ruthless criminals who view the immigrant not as a human being, but as cargo. Immigrants are urged not to put their safety at risk by illegally entering the United States or circumventing a checkpoint.
The Rio Grande Valley Sector is part of the South Texas Campaign, which leverages federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations. To report suspicious activity, call the sector’s toll-free telephone number at 800-863-9382.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.