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CBP Launches Series of Spanish Language Central American Migrants’ Testimonials

Release Date: 
May 31, 2016

Testimonials Reveal the Atrocities Migrants Endure in their 1,600-mile Journey

WASHINGTON—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released the first in a series of 60-second Spanish language video testimonials of Central American migrants who voluntarily share their horrifying 1,600-mile journey to the north in the hands of human smugglers. The testimonials are part of a new awareness effort and the continuation of the information campaigns CBP has launched in recent years.

In the first of many such accounts, a young Central American mother, whose identity is protected, describes her frightful experience, “you suffer a lot, you encounter people that try to sexually abuse you. Sometimes you travel in tractor trailer boxes unable to breathe. At the end of it all, nothing was like they say it would be.”

“She is an anonymous voice, one of thousands of Central American migrants, including unaccompanied children, who in recent years have endured a myriad of atrocities, sexual abuse, extortion, assault, kidnapping and exploitation in the hands of coyotes or human smugglers,” said CBP spokesperson Jaime Ruiz.

In conjunction with the launching of the testimonials series, CBP announced the expansion of the Border Safety Initiative (BSI) border dangers messaging outreach to key Central American communities in California, Texas, Florida, New York and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas.

Historically, the summer months are the deadliest. More than 6,100 migrants have tragically lost their lives in recent years from exposure to the unforgiving elements, suffering heat stroke, dehydration, hyperthermia, and drowning in canals, ditches, and the Rio Grande. Others have fallen victim to criminals and drug smugglers.

The Border Safety Initiative (BSI) is the deployment of lifesaving technology, emergency response personnel, coupled with binational information campaigns aimed at reducing the numbers of migrant deaths.

In addition to preventing deaths, BSI also aims to rescue migrants who fall prey to unscrupulous human smugglers who have no regard for their life and safety.

The combined efforts of Border Patrol’s Border Search, Trauma and Rescue team (BORSTAR) and Air and Marine Operations (AMO) have resulted in rescuing and saving the lives of more than 29,000 people at the Southwest border.

The deployment of specialized personnel, area-specific technology, and public awareness campaigns are among the efforts undertaken by the U.S. Border Patrol each year in order to prevent the unfortunate loss of life.

The Border Patrol currently has more than 4,150 first responders, 730 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and 70 paramedics.  All are U.S. Border Patrol agents who have the capability to treat aliens and fellow agents with immediate medical needs in the field.  

The testimonial is a continuation of Spanish-language messaging campaigns CBP has launched in recent years in Central America, Mexico and in key Central American communities in the United States.

Through these efforts CBP hopes to prevent the loss of human lives and to raise awareness of the real dangers and hazards Central American migrants and their families face in the hands of unscrupulous human smugglers.

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Last modified: 
January 2, 2018