McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — As the weather continues to get colder and colder and more migrants attempt to cross into the United States via remote areas of Texas, Border Patrol agents in Del Rio have put up a towering rescue beacon to help those who are lost or injured.
This is the first rescue beacon implemented in the wilderness as part of the Del Rio Sector’s Foreign Operation Branch/Missing Migrant Program, agency officials said. It has been put near Comstock, Texas, an unincorporated area with a population less than 500 in Val Verde County about 25 miles northwest of Del Rio, Texas.
“Too often, migrants are abandoned by human smugglers in the harsh Texas terrain. These individuals are often left with little to no provisions, lost in a foreign country, and without any avenue for rescue,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Austin Skero II, said in a statement. “These beacons enhance Del Rio Sector’s capability to respond to those in distress and save lives.”
The 30-foot-tall tower is equipped with a high visibility strobe light on top and contains a red button for someone in distress to activate to call for medical help or to be rescued. Once pushed, the device automatically provides its geographic location.
Drinking water also has been placed at the base of the beacon and there is cellphone charging capability on the tower, agency officials said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner Robert Perez said the agency has had a 211% increase in the number of rescues that agents made in October and November, compared to the previous year. During a call with media this week to release recent migrant apprehension statistics for the Southwest border, Perez praised the brave work by agents who rescue migrants.
“It’s incredible work being done by our frontline Border Patrol agents and all our frontline border personnel in rescuing these people and putting their lives, oftentimes second to those they encounter,” Perez said.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com.