McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The frigid arctic air that blasted South Texas did not dissuade many migrants who still tried to enter the United States and were rescued by U.S. Border Patrol agents suffering from hypothermia, federal officials told Border Report.
“It’s been a very busy 24 hours,” Christian Alvarez, special operations supervisor for the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector said. “Our agents have been responding to activity all across the Rio Grande Valley.”
This included Border Patrol agents conducting “multiple rescues in the vast ranchlands of Brooks, Kenedy, and Kleberg counties,” he said, adding that some rescued migrants were sent for emergency medical care and were showing signs of hyperthermia.
These three counties are some of the least populated in the state yet geographically span hundreds of miles and are filled with rough terrain and brush and are areas that have long been favorite spots of drug cartel and human traffickers to force migrants to walk for days on foot to cross. The U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near Falfurrias, Texas, is located in Brooks County where rural ranches are spaced miles apart and the terrain is filled with rattle snakes and migrants have died from dehydration, hypothermia and hyperthermia.
Rescues included helping several lost migrants and that wasn’t easy on Sunday night as sleet, snow and freezing rain moved into the region. Plus, when a lost individual dials 911, the GPS coordinates the dispatch operator receives are not of the person’s exact location but of a cell tower that is in their proximity.
During one rescue operation on Sunday night in Kingsville, agents received a report of two lost Honduran women and “after several hours of searching, Falfurrias agents found the pair approximately 16 miles away from the original (coordinates),” Alvarez said.
He said agents “performed these actions several times” and came across multiple undocumented migrants who “were too lost or too weak to continue walking.”
The temperatures were in the 20s on Sunday night and Monday and were expected to drop into the teens tonight.
On Sunday night, Border Patrol agents assisted a woman who gave birth in the brush on the banks of the Rio Grande near the South Texas town of Mission. The temperatures were below freezing and the newborn was wrapped in Mylar thermal blankets until EMS arrived.
Alvarez said that in addition to helping migrants, Border Patrol agents also assisted local law enforcement officials on multiple calls including road closures on areas deemed too dangerous or icy for vehicles.
The weather also affected the activation of specialty Border Patrol units, like the horse patrol, ATVs and boat patrols, he said.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com.