82ºF

Summer heat doesn't slow flow of immigrants crossing border

Temperatures reach 108 during summer months

RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas – The summer heat hasn't slowed down undocumented immigrants from crossing the Rio Grande River into Texas. Families continue taking risks for a brief chance at freedom.

During a visit to the border, a KSAT crew spotted a group of women and children on the Mexican side while on a ride along with Border Patrol agents. Smugglers loaded them up in a raft. Then dropped them off on the U.S. banks of the river.

Border Patrol agent Isaac Villegas was waiting for them as they arrived.

"Where are you from? Are you OK? Have you had water? Please drink some," Villegas said in Spanish, as he instructed them to sit down and remain calm.

The group was from El Salvador and had been traveling for 13 days. We asked one of the women, why she would make such a dangerous journey with her 7-year-old son. 

"We came over to give our children a better future," said the women in Spanish. She also asked we not use her name.

Minutes later, another group crossed. This one had more women and children but also included a man.

Villegas says this happens daily. Often times the heat turns these situations into rescue missions.

"The children are No. 1 -- getting them out of the hot sun. Right now we looked at the temperature gauge and it was at about 108 where we were at, having a child in that temperature is not something that we want to do," Villegas said.

This year Border Patrol has rescued 926 undocumented immigrants. They've also apprehended over 141,000 immigrants.

Villegas said undocumented immigrants are also the victims of abuse. Smugglers take advantage of them and keep in deplorable conditions.

"Some of these stash houses we've had assaults, rapes things like that happen in there and again in the hands of the ruthless smugglers," he said.

It's why Villegas urges those coming across to think twice before putting themselves and their families in danger.