Illegal border crossers continue to learn the hard way they can expect no mercy from human traffickers or the South Texas sun, News Radio 1200 WOAI reprorts.
Earlier this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported the deaths of three people, all suspected illegal immigrants, in a 24-hour period.
Across much of the Rio Grande Valley over the past two weeks temperatures have exceeded 100 degrees, with some ranchers reporting their thermometers reaching 107 degrees.
Raul Ortiz, deputy chief for the Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley Sector, says the number of fatalities among immigration lawbreakers has dropped in his area compared to last year, but that's just half the story.
"Last year we had 67 deaths at this same time. This year we're looking at about 59 deaths; our rescues are up quite a bit," Ortiz says.
The rescue figures speak for themselves.
According to Ortiz, in 2017 law officers saved 670 illegal immigrants in distress. So far this year, the figure is 981.
Ortiz says smugglers and the cartels that often manage them, are increasingly desperate to profit from criminal cross-border transport, no matter the human cost.
"They have no regard for their safety or their well-being," he says, "and we want to do just the opposite. We want to get them out of harm's way whenever we possibly can."
Ortiz says the public can support the life-saving efforts of law enforcement agencies across South Texas by alerting authorities any time conditions appear out of the ordinary.
"Don't be afraid to push a rescue beacon, don't be afraid to call 9-1-1, or don't be afraid to walk out to a major road," Ortiz says. "Chances are, you're going to experience law enforcement out there who are out on patrol."
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