EDINBURG, Texas – The Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV) Missing Migrant Program (MMP) has deployed numerous landmark markers to aid migrants who become lost during their journey into the United States.
On March 16, RGV MMP, in collaboration with the Rio Grande City Station Riverine unit, launched the Rescue Water Placard initiative. Agents deployed the first of over 500 water rescue placards along the river where crossings occur. Due to the increased migration flow, the initiative is an effort to minimize migrant deaths through humane, rapid, and efficient search and rescue operations.
The placards have warnings in Spanish and English, of drowning hazards and instructions to call 911. These placards have unique numbers that a migrant in distress can repeat to the operator who will then cross-reference a location matrix to better determine the caller’s exact location. The placards will be located from Falcon Dam in Starr County downriver to the mouth of the Rio Grande.
The main objective is prevention, location, identification, and reunification of the lost migrants during their travel. “As we’ve seen time and again, Transnational Criminal Organizations exploit vulnerable populations, and our agents continually protect migrants who are put in deadly situations by smugglers. The water rescue placards are another tool our agents will utilize to increase the rescue and enforcement capabilities of those who become lost or distressed.” said Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “Our position remains consistent and clear: Humanitarian assistance and safety protocols must always be allowed to reach those who need it in the safest manner possible for all involved.”