The Laredo Border Patrol sector is sending out a message in an effort to reduce the number of immigrant deaths.
They describe the situation in the southwest border a humanitarian and national security crisis. They add that from October 2018 to date, their apprehensions have increased 139 percent.
“We have apprehended over 627 thousand people a fiscal year to date. 82 percent of what we have apprehended other than Mexican nationals, the vast majority being family units and unaccompanied alien children. Those two populations are the most vulnerable.”
This fiscal year, agents have made more than 1,7000 rescues.
“And although a high number of rescues have been reported, border patrol says the number of fatalities continues to increase.”
In the Laredo sector, more than 27 thousand immigrants have been detained and almost 50 deaths have been reported. Most of them happening in the river and the desert.
“They are not prepared for the situation that the smugglers put them in. They don’t have enough water, enough food and consequently, they will perish out in the elements a lot of times the flow of the river will rise unexpectedly as well.”
These numbers are alarming for the Webb County Medical Examiner who says she spends 40 percent of her time identifying the bodies of immigrants.
“This year, this calendar year in 2019 since January 1st, I have already examined 60 border crossers. I have never seen the cases rise so quickly this early in the summer season in the 12 years I have been the Webb County Medical Examiner.”
Last year, Dr. Stern says she examined the remains of 149 immigrants from 10 counties along the Texas-Mexico border. The majority of these victims were recovered in Webb County, followed by brooks and Jim Hogg County.