This South Texas heatwave, which has topped out at record high temperatures, is creating a deadly situation for both the migrants who are sneaking across the border and members of the Border Patrol who track them down, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
A special unit of the Border Patrol, called BORSTAR, is tasked with searching for lost migrants, treating their heat-related trauma and bringing them to safety.
Supervisory Agent Jorge Barron says, lately, they've been rescuing nearly one-dozen migrants a week, who have been abandoned by their smugglers.
"I've gone from handshakes to hugs. They've prayed for me, and I really appreciate it. They're just happy to be alive," he says.
In many cases, these migrants come across the border with a cell phone, but if they're left behind, the cell phone signal in much of deep South Texas is spotty at best.
Agents can triangulate a call to 9-1-1, but the migrants often keep moving. But in many cases, these migrants don't know 9-1-1 exists, so they call a family member in their home country, making it nearly impossible to find their exact location.
When agents arrive, many migrants are near death.
"At times, if I have my lunch, I'll give them my lunch. They haven't eaten for days at a time," Agent Barron explains.
On Monday, agents in McAllen were able to find two illegal aliens who were ditched by the smugglers, and both needed medical attention due to prolonged exposure to the excessive heat. An Air and Marine Operations helicopter was even flown in, but they were transported to the hospital by ambulance.
Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr. says incidents like that prove how dangerous sneaking across the border can be.
"Smugglers have a complete disregard for human life and continue to endanger the lives of those determined to cross illegally into the United States. Our agents are prepared and will continue to provide lifesaving efforts as the need arises."
The public is encouraged to report suspicious activity at 800-863-9382.