El Paso Sector Launches Border Safety Initiative for 2015
Temperatures of 100-degrees in urban areas can make being in the desert feel like you’re walking on the sun.
That was one of the main points demonstrated June 17 in the searing heat at the U.S. Border Patrol/El Paso Sector’s annual Border Safety Initiative (BSI) Campaign, which took place today along a levee road in east El Paso. The event involved participation by the El Paso Fire Department (EPFD), local law enforcement agencies and the Government of Mexico, in a consolidated effort to stress the ever-present dangers of summer temperatures, and underestimating perilous swift-water in areas canals.
“The goal of this year’s local border safety initiative is to preserve human lives, plain and simple,” Acting El Paso Sector Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Michael Pyzbyl said. “Every year, we make a concerted effort to get the word out that crossing the border in the desert, or trying to navigate waterways can cost you your life”, he added.
The BSI unveiling in El Paso was held near the Rio Grande levee adjacent to the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) main office, located at the United States and Mexico international boundary.
The event featured impressive swift-water rescue scenarios by Border Search and Rescue (BORSTAR) team members, and Aviation Enforcement Agents from the Office of Air and Marine-El Paso Branch, which are real-life situations not uncommon along the southwest border.
“The challenges are immense when you’re utilizing aerial support to reach stranded, injured or missing persons in some of these dangerous venues,” Acting Director of the Office of Air and Marine-El Paso Air Branch, David “Mitch” King said.
The multi-agency event also highlighted the bilateral agreement between the El Paso Sector Border Patrol’s International Liaison Unit (ILU), Instituto Nacional Migratorio (INAMI), the Consulate General of Mexico, and other local law enforcement entities that exists in an effort to reach out to surrounding communities of both countries—warning of the dangers along the border area.
Personnel from the U.S. Border Patrol, INAMI and EPFD reaffirmed their commitment to public safety as they addressed attendees at the event. Educating the public of the dangers of entering swift-moving waters or navigating though the desert areas for either recreational purposes or for those attempting to enter the country illegally was the focus for all parties.
Since 1998, the BSI’s bi-national strategy has made diligent efforts to reduce and warn migrants about injuries, fatalities that do occur, and ensure safety in the border region. Under BSI, the U.S. Border Patrol has produced and distributed several public service announcements, (PSAs) such as “No Mas Cruces en Las Fronteras,” “Migra Corridos,” “No Te Engañes” and “No Trafiques Vidas.” This year’s message illustrated the dangers of crossing the border where the risks of injuries, mortality or falling under the prey of smugglers are always present.
The success of the BSI program represents the standards and goals towards a safer and more secure environment for all people in our border communities.
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.