Border Patrol agents assigned to the Texas-Mexico border region rescued nine migrant family members in two incidents from possibly drowning while illegally crossing the border from Mexico. The incidents occurred in the El Paso and Del Rio Sectors.
Del Rio Station Marine Unit agents patrolling the Rio Grande near the Del Rio Port of Entry on October 17 encountered a group of six Haitian migrants attempting to wade across the swiftly moving river currents. The group included two infants, according to information obtained from Del Rio Sector Border Patrol officials.
The agents observed the group appearing to struggle during the crossing and maneuvered their boat into position to affect a rescue. The agents pulled the Haitian migrants, including two children under the age of one, into their boat and transported them to the bank where ground-based agents evaluated their medical condition. The agents determined none of the migrants sustained injuries and transported them to the Del Rio Station for processing under current U.S. Customs and Border Protection guidelines.
“Smugglers continue to show no concern for families attempting to illegally enter the United States,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz said in a written statement. “I commend our agents for their swift actions, preventing a potential loss of life.”
A few days earlier, Army National Guard members assigned to assist El Paso Sector Border Patrol agents observed a group of six people attempting to illegally cross the border near Ascarate Park in southeast El Paso. The Guardsmen made the observation while operating border security monitoring cameras, Border Patrol officials stated.
Border Patrol agents responded to the area and found that four migrants had climbed over the old wire-mesh fencing and entered the dangerous American canal. Officials said that two human smugglers assisted the migrants but later returned to Mexico.
The agents observed that one of the migrants had difficulty maintaining his balance while attempting to cross the canal with a small child in his arms. They entered the canal and deployed rescue ropes. The man with the toddler initially refused assistance and indicated that his family “did not want to turn themselves in,” El Paso Sector Border Patrol officials said. The agents cautioned the man about the dangers of the swiftly moving currents and pointed out the risk of severe injury or death to the struggling child.
Officials said the father eventually complied and took hold of the rope. The agents then pulled the family to safety. A fourth person in the water returned to the Mexican side of the border, officials stated.
“This situation could very easily have ended in tragedy,” Interim Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez said in a written statement. “When the man refused assistance, he was already struggling to stay on his feet while holding on to the child. These canals are more dangerous than they appear. I am glad everyone involved, both this family and my agents, made it through this ordeal safe and sound.”
El Paso emergency medical services personnel arrived on the scene and transported the mother and two-year-old child to University Medical Center in El Paso for evaluation. All three will be processed under CBP guidelines, officials stated. Border Patrol officials did not disclose the nationality of the migrant family.