Border Patrol Installing More Rescue Beacons to Save Lives in the Desert

Posted: Aug 03, 2020 7:30 AM

Border Patrol agents are constantly rescuing illegal aliens lost in the desert, and sometimes that help arrives too late. To save lives, Border Patrol agents in the Laredo Sector are adding rescue beacons in remote areas and investing in a GPS project that will help emergency responders respond quicker to calls for help. 

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the rescue beacons allow for migrants to call for medical assistance or rescue and automatically provide the location of the beacon to Border Patrol agents. The beacons stand about 35 feet tall, are self-contained and solar-powered. The beacon features a high visibility strobe light on the top, and many include a camera that can help agents in a rescue situation and help agents gauge an appropriate emergency response.

The GPS project, known as the 911 Location Marker Project, formerly the Deer Blind Initiative, is designed to assist landowners and hunters in reporting suspicious activities utilizing prominent landmarks such as buildings, deer blinds, and fences. Such landmarks are tagged with an alphanumeric identifier that allows Border Patrol agents to identify the corresponding GPS coordinates for each landmark. 

"The Laredo Sector is dedicated to preventing the loss of human life, and will continue to deploy additional rescue beacons throughout the area of operation. Additionally, the Border Patrol will continue to work closely with local landowners to facilitate the placement of 911 Location Marker Project placards. Through these efforts, the Laredo Sector hopes to significantly reduce the loss of life along the border," CBP said in a press release. 

In July, Border Patrol agents tracked a group of three illegal aliens through a remote desert area last Sunday. After apprehending one of the three individuals, agents found the other two subjects deceased.

"This loss of life is another sobering reminder of the dangers associated with illegally crossing our border, especially as the desert experiences extreme temperatures," said Wellton Station Deputy Patrol Agent in Charge Joseph Remenar in a press release.

In June, agents in the Laredo Sector encountered a group of seven illegal aliens near Hebbronville, Texas, who told agents about two individuals the group left behind during their arduous trek across the border. A search located the missing two individuals, finding one unresponsive and another suffering from dehydration. The unresponsive individual was pronounced dead on the scene.

A family of three abandoned in the desert by their human smugglers was rescued on Christmas Eve by Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector. Luckily, there was a rescue beacon there – thank you taxpayers – and a rescue team promptly saved the entire family, including an infant child.

Rescue beacons seem like a good idea but a wall is a permanent solution to the problem. In 2019, CBP rescued more than 4,900 migrants along the southwest border.