EDINGBURG, TEXAS—As summer temperatures continue to climb, so too does the number of illegal immigrants who succumb to the elements and die. So far in July, U.S. Border agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector have found the remains of seven illegal immigrants, who perished in the rugged ranchlands of South Texas, and rescued eight others.
The deceased individuals were found in separate incidents, five in Brooks County, one in Kenedy County and one in Jim Wells County.
The rescues occurred Wednesday evening at the Falfurrias Checkpoint on U.S. Highway 281 North, when agents saved the lives of eight illegal immigrants, who were locked inside a refrigerated truck with no means of escape.
Immigrants are often unaware of the extreme danger they face when attempting to illegally enter the United States. The risk of drowning while crossing the Rio Grande or other body of water is significantly high. Additionally, extreme heat, combined with rugged terrain, can rapidly cause an individual to become distressed and die from dehydration or another heat-related illness.
As temperatures soar, people are urged not to put their lives at risk by attempting to illegally enter the United States or by circumventing a checkpoint. U.S. Border Patrol agents are well-trained in search-and-rescue techniques and do their utmost to save the lives of those in need. Unfortunately, however, so far for fiscal year 2013, which began Oct. 1, 2012, agents have found the remains of nearly 110 illegal immigrants, an increase of about 40 percent over the same time period for the previous fiscal year. Additionally, rescues jumped from more than 170 to nearly 430 in that same time period, an increase of more than 145 percent.
To report suspicious activity, call the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol 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.