Nearly 300 illegal aliens died while attempting to cross into the U.S. during Fiscal Year 2017. The figure is down from 329 over last year.
During the recently ended Fiscal Year 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported the deaths of 294 who illegally crossed the southwestern U.S. border with Mexico. This represents the fourth-lowest number of deaths reported by CBP since 1998, according to information provided to Breitbart Texas by CBP officials. During that period, 7,216 died while illegally entering the U.S.
The 11 percent drop in deaths parallels the 26 percent reduction in border apprehensions during President Donald Trump’s first fiscal year.
From fiscal years 2000 to 2013, the Tucson Border Patrol Sector reported the highest number of deaths compared to the other eight. However, in FY2014, the year that the surge in Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) began, that dubious distinction moved to the Rio Grande Valley Sector in South Texas.
The Tucson and Rio Grande Valley sectors combine for 58 percent of all border-related deaths, the report reveals.
Border Patrol and local law enforcement officials repeatedly warned of the dangers of crossing illegally and the callous nature of the cartel-connected human smugglers. Rescued migrants have told Breitbart Texas in the past that “coyotes” will simply abandon them in the desert if they become ill, injured, dehydrated, or otherwise too weak to keep pace with the group.
Earlier this year, Border Patrol agents in the Laredo Sector reported the rescue of a young woman abandoned in such a set of circumstances. The human smugglers left her in the heat of the South Texas summer in a brush-covered ranch near El Cenizo. Finding her unconscious, the agents went to work administering life-saving first-aid.
“The fact that these smugglers abandoned this young lady in the unforgiving terrain and left her to die with temperatures sweltering over one hundred degrees demonstrates how callous and heartless these smuggling organizations are. Had it not been for our agents’ determination to locate every single person in the group, she would not have received crucial medical assistance within the golden hour, and this young lady would have succumbed to the extreme elements,” Laredo Sector Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Gabriel Acosta said in a written statement in July.
In November, two others were not so lucky. Agents working from the Falfurrias Station in the Rio Grande Valley Sector found the skeletal remains two illegal aliens abandoned on the arid ranch lands of South Texas.
“These callous human smugglers have no regard for human life,” Brooks County Sheriff Martinez told Breitbart Texas at the time of the discovery. “If a migrant becomes injured, dehydrated, or exhausted by the rigorous march around the Border Patrol’s checkpoint, the smugglers just leave them behind to die.”
CNN’s Headline News aired a report in October about the work accomplished by the Webb County Medical Examiner who also performs services for about 13 counties in South Texas.
“We have seen 109 migrant deaths as of today,” she stated in the October interview. “In addition to the 43 from Brooks County, 42 were found here in Webb County. Starr County had 10, Dimmit had 5, and the remainder came from Jim Hogg, Zapata, Maverick, Kenedy, and Val Verde counties.”
Sheriff Martinez expressed his frustration with the mounting death toll his county is experiencing.
“As long as these ruthless human smugglers continue to make money marching their ‘cargo’ through South Texas, these deaths will continue,” the sheriff said in an October interview with Breitbart Texas. “We will keep doing our best to save as many of them as we can.”