The border patrol gets a bad rep because people tend to forget the humanitarian side of things when they make it political.
For example, along the southwest border, the temperature averages 90 degrees and the inside of an 18-wheeler can reach up to 120 degrees. That is a big problem when unconcerned traffickers shove up to 120 migrants in the back.
Deputy chief for the U.S. Border Patrol Laredo, Joel Martinez says, “We had an 18-wheeler with 120 people in the back. I think seven of them were juveniles. So you can imagine what the consequence would be if they got past us, and they keep driving down the highway with that many people in the back, in the middle of the summer for Laredo. It’s torture.”
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen what happens when these unscrupulous smugglers put people behind, in trailers or in trains. People die. Luckily for them [the 120 in the tractor-trailer], our agents were doing their job, and they managed to find them before anything bad happened to them.” Martinez added.
And there has been a recent backlash in the news about migrant deaths, and the fact that they sometimes occur when Border Patrol has them in custody, but to blame the Border Patrol would be unfair. Seven children have reportedly passed in CBP custody but the evidence shows that the illegal trek to the border was the cause. No child should have to make that journey by foot.
The truth is the agents provide immediate, much needed, medical attention to border crossers.
“Daily, our agents save somebody’s life. I’m not over-exaggerating when I say that when we get some of these people, they are pretty bad off as far as dehydration and everything else. I mean, they’re exhausted, and they barely make that swim across the river. So when our agents get them, they’re in pretty bad shape.” Martinez explains.
Agents receive emergency medical training to help illegal migrants that are in need.
“We have one of the largest EMT—emergency medical technician—corps in the nation. We have 125 agents out there, at any time, patrolling the streets. And they’re all either paramedics or EMTs. Even for the general public here, we’re usually the first ones on the scene. So our guys are usually the first people that render first aid, that actually gives IVs and everything else.” Martinez stated.
Agents have pulled out children and teenagers out of creeks, even cars that were sinking in creeks.
Rafael Garza, a 23-year veteran of the Border Patrol says, “Compassion comes first; we are human beings first. There was a group of about 15. We encountered the group at the river. Everybody just ran all over the place. There was a 5-year-old left behind. At that time, the 5-year-old was crying, badly dehydrated. We knew they were close by, but they were hiding—about three agents were trying to encompass the whole area.”
When Garza called for the parents of the child he realized he had to use compassion to get them to come out of hiding.
“It was at a point that, hey, if you have any decency, it’s a 5-year-old child here. So we knew he was probably accompanied by a family member. Where are you at? Come out. Help us out. It wasn’t until after about 20-25 minutes that the mom came out and said, ‘That’s my child.’ But they are at a point where they don’t want to get caught, because they’ve already invested so much money with the smugglers.”
This experience has left an impression on Garza.
” That stood out to me in my career, where we have to be compassionate and not be like everybody deems us, as just doing our job.” Garza said.
These border crossers often come with diseases and illnesses that need to be treated in U.S. hospitals.
Division chief of the Border Patrol’s Laredo sector explains, “What about some of the costs, the taxpayer dollars that are involved, in dealing with all these people that are injured that have to go to the hospital? We’re helping out the next sector over from us. We’re taking about 188 people per day, four buses full of family-unit people from Central America. And what we’ve seen with the people is that a lot of them have to go to the hospital. A lot of them are sick”
Migrants come in with measles, mumps, chicken pox, and other things.