Border Patrol campaign seeks to reduce number of migrant deaths

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - In an effort to stop the loss of lives of those attempting to illegally cross into the United States, Border Patrol kicked off its annual campaign that brings awareness of the dangers they face.

File photo: Border Patrol agents

Border Patrol Special Operations Supervisor for the Laredo Sector, Narciso Ramos, says the Border Safety Initiative started back in 1998 as an effort to raise awareness of the risks of illegally crossing the border.

Trying to reach the American dream through our area, has turned into a nightmare for those crossing illegally.

As of October 2018, 125 immigrants have died throughout the U.S.-Mexico Border due to the elements, with 45 occurring in the Laredo Sector.

Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Joel Martinez says, unlike the Rio Grande Valley where people are actually turning themselves into Border Patrol. Laredo is unique in that they are not turning themselves in.

Migrants who are unfamiliar with our area might run into serious problems putting their life at risk. Fortunately, the agency does have Boar Star, an EMT certified and paramedic team that specializes in search and rescue operations.

As soon as they find someone in trouble, they are ready to render aid and transport them to a nearby hospital as fast as possible but those kinds of missions aren't land exclusive.

The Marine Unit consists of 17 vessels that are used to patrol the Rio Grande River.

Agents use boats to patrol the Laredo Sector from Dimmit County all the way to Zapata County.

The Laredo Sector will continue to protect our communities and those that cross illegally and make sure they do not succumb to these extreme environmental conditions.

Border Patrol says the surge of migrants has directly affected the number of agents available by placing personnel at detention centers instead of patrolling the border.