Illegal immigrants stopped by Border Patrol recently have been closer to death from suffocating heat than they ever were to freedom.
On June 10, Big Bend Sector Border Patrol agents raided a U-Haul box truck that contained 33 illegal immigrants, according to a Customs and Border Protection news release.
Twelve of those rescued on the 100-degree day required hospitalization.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 17, 2021
Border Patrol agents were alerted to suspicious activity around 10 p.m. and approached two vehicles near a McDonald’s in Van Horn, Texas.
When the box truck was opened, agents discovered 33 people “close to perishing due to excessive heat and lack of fresh air in temperatures still hovering near 100 degrees,” the release said.
“Intervention by Border Patrol agents allowed the people who were suffering from heat related illnesses to be freed in a rescue event with 12 people transported to regional hospitals.”
Border Patrol’s Special Operations Group, which includes emergency medical technicians, went to work. In addition to the 12 people who went to local hospitals, “many more were evaluated and treated for symptoms of dehydration on-scene,” the release said.
“Had our heroic agents not been able to free these trapped undocumented migrants, we could have seen 33 miserable deaths in this event,” Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Sean L. McGoffin said. “Smugglers do not care what type of misery they put people through as they take their money.”
A similar incident took place on Sunday when Laredo North Station agents intercepted another box truck, according to a CBP news release.
Agents found 27 illegal immigrants in the back of the truck. The temperature inside was 106 degrees Fahrenheit, the release said.
“Though human smugglers may try different ways to attempt to avoid detection, our agents remain vigilant and committed to our border security and national security mission,” Chief Patrol Agent Matthew Hudak said.
The release noted that “With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, transporting large groups of people without PPE in close and often dangerous quarters, endangers the individuals and the safety of our Nation. Human smugglers continue to have no regard for the safety and health of the people they exploit for profit.”
Officials said the heat along the border can be deadly for migrants.
“It’s going to be a brutal summer,” said Don White, a sheriff’s deputy in Brooks County, Texas, according to The Washington Post.
“I’ve never seen so many people coming through. It’s just crazy right now.”
Although illegal immigration has spiked for months in response to the Biden administration’s highly publicized efforts to undo former President Donald Trump’s policies, some officials are now warning illegal immigrants the risks are too great.
“We are appealing to every person who is considering a desperate, perilous journey into the United States, whether in a boat, on foot or crammed in the trunk of a car,” Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said, according to KGTV-TV.
“Don’t do it. Do not put your life in the hands of smugglers. These people do not care about you. They will jam way too many people on a boat or in a car just to make more money. They will direct you to hike in remote areas in dangerous weather conditions without adequate food, water or clothes. Smugglers care nothing for their customers. They care only about maximum profit.”
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