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Border Patrol Agents Rescue 63 Migrants from Rio Grande River

Release Date: 
April 26, 2019

Increased Water Releases from Amistad Dam Creating Dangerous River Conditions

Del Rio, TexasU.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to Del Rio Sector rescued 63 migrants from the swift current of the Rio Grande River in three separate incidents.

Agents assigned to Del Rio Sector rescued 63 migrants from the swift current of the Rio Grande River in three separate incidents.
Agents assigned to Del Rio Sector rescued
63 migrants from the swift current of the Rio
Grande River in three separate incidents.

An increase in water release from Amistad Dam has created a high flow to the Rio Grande River and is expected to approach and remain near flood stage for the next 25 days. Water is regularly transferred downstream to meet irrigation and municipal water demand in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which creates dangerous conditions to anyone attempting to cross the Rio Grande River and to agents operating on or near the river.“Crossing the Rio Grande River is extremely dangerous under the best of conditions,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz. “With the increased water levels, the river is running faster and higher than normal making any attempt to cross the river even more treacherous. Thanks to our agents’ vigilance, these attempted crossings did not result in the loss of life.”

On April 12, Border Patrol agents from the Brackettville Station encountered 14 people stranded on an island in the middle of the Rio Grande River. Agents along with members of the Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue team deployed a rescue boat with swift-water equipment and safely transported all the people to the U.S. side of the river.

An increase in water release from Amistad Dam has created dangerous conditions on the Rio Grande.
An increase in water release from
Amistad Dam has created dangerous
conditions on the Rio Grande.

On April 14, a CBP Air and Marine Operations helicopter pilot patrolling in the area spotted a group of 21 people stranded on the same island. The group was observed attempting to cross the swift-flowing river, only to be nearly swept away and forced to return to the island. The Del Rio Station marine unit and agents from the Brackettville Station were able to safely rescue all 21 people and transport them in a patrol boat to the U.S. side of the river.

On April 18, agents from the Brackettville Station encountered another large group of people stranded on the island unable to return to Mexico or continue crossing the river to the United States. Border Patrol marine agents responded to the area with a patrol boat and successfully rescued 28 people from the island.

All of the migrants were from Central America including unaccompanied children and family units. They were processed per U.S. Customs and Border Protection guidelines. 

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021