With this year's record-breaking temperatures, the number of illegal immigrants dying from the heat while out in the brush is on the rise.
Dehydration and other heat-related illnesses are taking lives at a near record pace. So far this year, US Border Patrol agents with the Rio Grande Valley sector have saved the lives of nearly 270 people, and found the remains of more than 100.
At the Falfurrias security checkpoint, Border Patrol agents said illegal immigrants try to travel around checkpoints, rather than going through it and getting caught. They said they have had some 12,000 illegal immigrants there at the checkpoint so far this year.
Border Patrol said many illegal immigrants who are smuggled into the US are unaware of the extreme danger that they face out there in the brush in the scorching sun, and do not realize that they have to walk for several days with little, if any, food, water or medicine before getting to their destination. Many of them simply do not survive the journey.
"This hot sun is unforgiving," said Enrique Mendiola, Jr., with US Customs and Border Protection. "When you get out into the desert, you know you get that reflection off the sand. These high temperatures are blistering, and these people are succumbing to the effects of the heat. They're dehydrating."
Border Patrol said most of the immigrants they find are on ranch properties between the corridor of the Falfurrias security checkpoint in Brooks County and the security checkpoint in Sarita, in Kleberg County.
They found another two dead bodies on Wednesday. They report the number of rescues is up nearly 60-percent from the same time period last year, and the number of immigrants found dead is up nearly 150-percent from last year.
Border Patrol urges immigrants not to put their lives at risk by attempting to illegally enter America or by circumventing a checkpoint.
They say the rise in immigrants having to be rescued and dying in the brush is disappointing, because they have worked hard with their Mexican counterparts to get the word out about how dangerous it is to enter the country illegally.
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