EL PASO, Texas -- CBP Border Patrol in El Paso, the El Paso Air Branch of CBP Air and Marine (AMO), the Consulate General of Mexico and the El Paso Fire Department joined forces today to help protect human life.
Representatives from various agencies met along the Rio Grande to participate in an annual campaign to promote Border Safety Initiative (BSI), an effort to raise awareness on both sides of the international boundary. The campaign is designed to warn border residents about the dangers posed by swift moving water and inhospitable desert climates.
Working in cooperation with the Consulate General of Mexico, El Paso Sector Border Patrol’s International Liaison Unit (ILU), CBP Air and Marine and other local law enforcement entities, this bilateral agreement is aimed at reducing deaths and injuries of migrants and other border residents who enter swift moving canals, or traverse through desert areas. This bi-national campaign also focuses on those attempting to enter the country illegally.
Along with remarks by agency personnel, the event included a live swift-water rescue demonstration by the U.S. Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) team and AMO.
BSI was launched in 1998 as a proactive bi-national strategy ultimately make the border region safer. Under BSI, the U.S. Border Patrol has taken numerous steps in warning migrants of the dangers of entering the country illegally. These include issuing the annual public service announcement (PSA) distributed each year to media to assist in educating the public about the dangers they can encounter when attempting to illegally enter the United States.
This year’s PSA highlights dangers of crossing area canals and deserts, in addition to warning persons about the dangers they face when they put their lives in the hands of smugglers.
This ongoing effort has significantly reduced the number of rescues and deaths recorded in the El Paso Sector. In fiscal year (FY) 2005 a total of 28 people perished in the desert and waterways in the El Paso Sector. In FY 2016, that number dropped to six deaths and 34 rescues. In FY-2017, there have been two migrant deaths and 25 rescues so far in the El Paso Sector.
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.