US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Archived Content

In an effort to keep CBP.gov current, the archive contains content from a previous administration or is otherwise outdated.

Rescues Are A Reminder of Desert Dangers

Release Date: 
June 9, 2010

Tucson, Ariz. - After triple-digit temperatures swept the west desert, U.S. Border Patrol agents experienced an increase in rescues as illegal aliens suffered from heat related injuries. At least 27 people were rescued by Tucson sector Border Patrol agents in the past two days. Agents advise that high temperatures will continue to be a hazard for illegal crossers in the upcoming months.

In one incident Tuesday, agents responding to a call located two severely dehydrated illegal aliens, one of whom was suffering from delirium. The men were treated by a Border Patrol agent who is trained as an emergency medical technician.

In another incident, agents rescued a pregnant woman suffering from dehydration and abdominal pain as a result of drinking contaminated water in a cattle tank. The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment. All of the subjects were then held for processing.

"Despite the obvious heat dangers, smugglers carelessly put lives at risk in their attempts to profit from illegal activity," stated Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Raleigh Leonard. "These unfortunate incidents are a reminder that the Sonoran Desert is a harsh and unforgiving environment."

Nevertheless, Border Patrol agents, assisted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine, remain ready to assist individuals in medical need. From Oct. 1, 2009, to May 31, 2010, the Tucson sector Border Patrol rescued 233 people from the Sonoran Desert.

The U.S. Border Patrol, equipped with its Search and Rescue Team and more than 200 agents trained as EMTs, is prepared to conduct humanitarian efforts to save lives along the border.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017