PRESIDIO, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol Big Bend Sector conducted a border safety initiative event at the Presidio Station today to raise awareness about the dangers of illegally crossing the border and the sector’s efforts to rescue migrants in distress.
Big Bend Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Matthew Roggow and the Consul for Mexico in Presidio, Gamaliel Bustillos Munoz, addressed guests and officials from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico Border on humanitarian life-saving efforts to rescue migrants endangered by illegal human smuggling in the West Texas Region.
“Our message to migrants is clear. Do not take the dangerous trek across the border into the mountains and deserts of this region. It is not worth your life," said Roggow.
Roggow spoke about how foot guides for criminal smuggling organizations often abandon migrants in this hostile terrain to die in the desert. That these criminal smugglers do not care about the safety of the migrants, just the money they can make by exploiting vulnerable people. That migrants have very little understanding of the dangers of the perilous journey.
The Big Bend Sector has some of most rugged and remote terrain on the U.S. Mexico border. Extremes of heat and cold in summer and winter can result in heat exhaustion or hypothermia. Lack of natural water sources can result in death from dehydration.
Both Roggow and Consul Bustillos Munoz spoke about close cooperation that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has with the Government of Mexico in the region on messaging about the dangers of illegally crossing the border and in coordinating the missing migrant program. The missing migrant program was established by the U.S. Border Patrol to help rescue migrants in distress and reduce migrant deaths along the border. The program is intended to identify and help missing or injured migrants.
Roggow also spoke about the U.S. Border Patrol’s rescue beacons that have been deployed along the border region in the last two years and how they are saving migrant lives. Big Bend Sector has had 42 rescues this fiscal year and only one death so far. Previous years have seen migrant deaths of 20 to 30 per year. Currently, 16 beacons and approximately 100 safety information placards have been deployed in the area. These placards contain 911 rescue phone numbers for both sides of the border and geolocation codes that enable agents to locate and rescue migrants in distress.
“This border safety initiative would not be successful without the cooperation of our partners on both sides of the border,” said Roggow. “We are especially grateful for the good relationship and assistance we have with our Government of Mexico partners on the south side.”
Big Bend Sector partners with many local and state law enforcement entities to keep our border communities safe. If you see something suspicious, report it by contacting our 24/7 hotline at 1-866-581-7549. Together, we can continue to uphold national security and combat illicit activity.