This is the time of year that the Border Patrol in south Texas spends more time rescuing illegal immigrants in the intense heat of the Brush Country then it does arresting them along the border, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Temperatures have hit triple digits for the last several days in the sparsely populated between the border and the Coastal Bend, and that means Dominc Bowcutt is busy.
He is a Border Patrol agent assigned to the BORSTAR unit, which deplys search and rescue teams and helicopters to find and rescue people who are walking across the Brush Country in this heat. He says they frequently have not prepared for a foot journey of this distance in these conditions.
"Primarily they run out of water," he said. "That's the most pressing issue. The journey takes longer than they think, and they don't carry enough water."
The immigrant smugglers, generally associated with the Mexican drug cartels, frequently dump immigrants off south of the checkpoints near Falfurrias and north of Laredo and tell them to start walking, often lying to them that 'Houston is just over the horizon' or 'San Antonio is just a few hours walk away.'
The Border Patrol and local counties have erected emergency locator beacons in the desolate countryside where illegal immigrants can summon help from BORSTAR and other agencies, but several illegal immigrants are expected to be found dead in the Brush County this summer, casualties of the heat, lack of preparedness, and evil immigrant smuggling gangs.
"When they get lost, it can take days to find these people, due to the vastness of the terrain," Bowcutt said. "When we do find them, they are so dehydrated, their kidneys are impacted."
Adding to the problems are a lack of landmarks in the Brush County that immigrants can use to make their journey. Frequently, BORSTAR reports immigrants have been wandering in circles, or have turned around and are actually heading back south because, other than the occasional water tower or windmill, there is nothing to use for navigation.
The Border Patrol has run ads in northern Mexico warning of the dangers of trusting smuggling gangs and informing would be immigrants of the hazards of trying to enter Texas on foot during the summertime, but the fact that mainly Mexican immigrants have been replaced by a veritable 'United Nations' of desperate people entering the U.S., from several continents and speaking several languages, has made that job a lot harder.