El Paso, Texas - CBP U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to El Paso Sector conducted a swift-water rescue operation in the American Canal yesterday, in an incident that nearly claimed the life of one migrant.
At approximately 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, El Paso Station Border Patrol agents spotted a male subject inside the American Canal located near the Paso Del Norte International Bridge in downtown El Paso. The responding agent was able to see that the person in the canal was in distress and holding onto a chain-link fence. Agents also noticed the man was having difficulty staying above water so they immediately deployed water-rescue equipment and safely extracted him from the canal.
The male subject identified as 19-year-old Jose Andres Meza-Alfaro, was provided medical assistance and treated for minor injuries by El Paso Fire Department personnel. Meza-Alfaro admitted to entering the country illegally by paying a smuggler who led him into the treacherous waters of the canal. Meza-Alfaro was arrested and transported for processing.
In fiscal year 2011, U.S. Border Patrol agents conducted ten water rescues. This most recent rescue is one more example of how the U.S. Border Patrol remains vigilant and dedicated to the welfare of immigrants and members of the community. This is also another reminder that summer waterways present a clear and present danger to migrants who are deceived by human smugglers into thinking that the swift currents of the canals are safe to traverse.
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.