Stuck In The Desert? Call Border Patrol For Help…


You probably still think that the federal government makes some kind of effort to prevent people from crossing what used to be our southern border with Mexico. Most rational people do. Unfortunately, they are wrong, and so are you. The border does not exist anymore. The territory across the Rio Grande in what we used to call Mexico is now controlled by drug cartels. And your federal government is actively helping people cross from that cartel-controlled territory into the United States.

Earlier this week U.S. Border Patrol Agents from the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station located a lost illegal immigrant using a recently deployed rescue beacon south of Hachita, New Mexico. A 51-year-old Mexican citizen who was attempting to cross into the United States lost his way. He then activated a rescue beacon and summoned Border Patrol agents to come to get him.

“The El Paso Sector has led the way in leveraging technology to rescue and provide aid to migrants stranded in the harsh, high-desert terrain,” CBP said in a news release. “Rescue beacons are only one part of the overall rescue efforts in the El Paso Sector. The El Paso Sector routinely collaborates with non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), including agencies at the local, county, state, and federal level in addition to continued coordination with our foreign partners in the Government of Mexico to rescue migrants in distress.”

You may not have been aware that rescue beacons even existed. They do. They let tired and discouraged individuals who are having a hard time sneaking into the country call for help. Think of it as Uber for illegals.

Just this year in the El Paso Sector alone the Border Patrol has installed 15 new rescue beacons in areas where migrants tend to get lost. They get a lot of use. Earlier this week in one 24-hour period Border Patrol carried out five different rescues.

The Department of Homeland Security is very proud of its beacons. It describes them this way.

“The rescue beacons provide the capability for a migrant to call for medical assistance or rescue while automatically providing a location. Rescue beacons are self-contained, solar-powered units placed in remote locations considered to be high risk for people in distress. Approximately 35 feet tall, each is equipped with a high visibility strobe light on top of the structure. Many of the towers utilize a camera system to determine an appropriate response and aid in the rescue effort. U.S. Border Patrol encourages anyone in distress to activate a rescue beacon or call 911 before they become a casualty.”

The beacons, however, are only one part of a much bigger initiative, called the Missing Migrants Program, which is aimed at addressing this critical need.

“Every day, undocumented migrants attempt to enter the U.S. between the ports of entry, specifically at our southwest border. Oftentimes, they face life-threatening circumstances. They are miles away from shelter, food, and water; exposed to harsh terrain and drastic changes in temperature; and lack the means to receive help if they need it. When faced with these types of adversities, migrants have a high risk of becoming disoriented, dehydrated, and succumbing to the harsh environment before they can reach help.”

These people have gotten themselves into deep trouble breaking our laws and sneaking into our country with the help of ultra-violent transnational criminal groups. We must save them.

And, to that end, we do a lot more than put up beacons.

To help notify U.S. Border Patrol when migrants are in distress and provide a general location of where they may be, the Border Patrol has also placed 911 rescue placards all along the border. The informational placards provide migrants with emergency contact information in English and Spanish that they can use to contact emergency management services. They also provide a general location that agents can use to begin their search for the caller.

“The rescue beacons and 911 rescue placards are useful tools for anyone who may be in distress in the border area, and for the CBP Border Patrol agents who respond to calls for assistance,” explains CBP Program Advisor Derek McVay.

To ensure the beacons and placards are placed most effectively, the Missing Migrant Program developed and piloted two key tools in the Rio Grande Valley sector: an interactive dashboard that enhances CBP’s ability to display geospatial data and models to help them strategically install additional rescue beacons and 911 rescue placards. The goal is to place these in areas that are most accessible to illegals and give them the best cell reception.

Border Patrol agents are kept busy responding to all the calls from illegals who need to be picked up. The U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector in Texas responds to an average of seven 911 calls per day. Such search and rescue calls take precedence over other work. The Border Patrol actually operates a special unit called the Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue Unit (BORSTAR) which uses Black Hawk helicopters to find people in trouble. BORSTAR members are emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and also use rescue dogs to help them find migrants who have called in to be rescued.

No right-thinking person really wants illegal migrants to simply die of dehydration in the desert. We understand that preventing this from happening is a worthy goal. Yet, rational people also can’t help wondering, wouldn’t it make more sense to finish the wall, police the border and prevent people from entering our country illegally than to spend millions tracking them down and flying them to safety.

Perhaps that kind of rationality no longer exists. In the meantime, while we wait to see if it ever resurfaces, we will continue to spend your tax dollars to help illegals cross the border.