Yuma, Ariz. - As summer closes in on the region, the Yuma Sector Border Patrol is warning anyone contemplating crossing the border illegally into the United States that temperatures in the Sonora desert can soar to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (46 Celsius).
Officials also warn that the desert has very few natural water sources or shaded areas. In addition, it is physically impossible for the average person to carry sufficient water to avoid life-threatening heat injuries.
If the heat isn't bad enough, human smugglers trick vulnerable individuals into walking through the desert by convincing them they will only walk a short distance. In reality, they are forced to walk long distances within short periods of time. Those unable to keep up are left behind to die.
Smugglers further victimize migrants by providing them with substances containing ephedrine, caffeine or methamphetamine to supposedly help them walk faster. The truth is these substances dehydrate a person much faster, placing them at greater risk of severe heat injury or death.
With unseasonably warm temperatures this year, five border deaths have been documented in Yuma Sector's area of operations since the beginning of fiscal year 2012.
In addition to raising awareness among potential crossers about the dangers of crossing the border illegally through Arizona, Yuma Sector agents and the Border Patrol's Search Trauma and Rescue team are preparing for an intense summer season in order to reduce migrant injury and border deaths in southwestern Arizona.
To report suspicious activity, call the Yuma Sector Border Patrol toll-free at (866) 999-8727.
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.