EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The U.S. Border Patrol warned migrants and the public about the “dangers of crossing the border” during a safety event Monday morning.
Border Patrol agents and first responders gave a first-hand look at how perilous that journey can be.
Almost every day, officials said, migrants are illegally crossing the border by going over the border wall or through the canals, among other ways. What many don’t realize is how extremely dangerous those decisions and actions can be.
“Smugglers convince migrants to jump into the canals to evade arrest despite knowing how dangerous they are,” said Gloria Chavez, El Paso chief patrol agent.
Kris Menendez, EPFD’s water rescue captain says although the canals look shallow and easy to cross, they are not. Jumping into canals not only puts migrants at risk but also members of the water rescue team who have to jump in to get them.
“Yes we are trained, yeah we have the proper equipment, but those same hazards are posed to the rescuers as well,” Menendez said.
Many of these migrants are also exposed to extreme heat and dehydration.
When migrants are rescued, they are transported to the hospital where the cost of their care is borne by the hospital because most of them don’t have insurance or a means to pay for their care.
“These patients in our trauma center, the emergent acute care is costing the hospital district $43,000 per patient,” said Dr. Alan Tyroch, the trauma medical director at UMC.
He says since 2021, an average of one migrant per day comes into the hospital.