Border Patrol creates new initiative to save more migrants' lives

‘Saving lives is at forefront of every (BP) agent's mind,' chief agent says

Courtesy: US Border Patrol

RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The Border Patrol announced a new initiative to help migrants who are lost during their trek through the Rio Grande Valley.

The new initiative is part of the Border Patrol’s Missing Migrant Program that was created to protect and save the lives of those who run into trouble in the sweltering Rio Grande Valley.

“All too often, immigrants find themselves lost, dehydrated and overheated in the inhospitable ranchlands common throughout Brooks, Kenedy, Kleberg, and Willacy counties,” officials said in a press release.

“They call 911 for help but do not know their location and the current E911 system is unable to narrow the search area enough for potential rescuers to search effectively,” the press release said.

FOLLOW: KSAT journeys to 'The Line,' capturing stories near the border

The Border Patrol hopes its RGV Location Marker Project initiative will help solve this issue by placing over 1,000 signs in the areas known by the migrants.

Officials said the Border Patrol will place the signs on high-visibility landmarks throughout South Texas.

“Those signs bear simple and easy-to-understand instructions to call 911 and give the sign’s unique number to the emergency dispatcher. The emergency call centers have been provided a precise GPS location that corresponds with the sign number, allowing for far quicker responses by rescuers,” officials said.

Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla Jr. said in the press release that saving lives is at the forefront of every Border Patrol agent’s mind.

“We sometimes attempt multiple rescues in a day so if we can shorten the duration of the search because of these signs and reach people in minutes instead of hours, we stand a much better chance of accomplishing our mission of safeguarding human life,” Padilla said in the press release.

The news of Border Patrol’s initiative comes less than 24 hours before a KSAT crew will attempt to walk a 25-mile stretch that migrants take in Brooks County.

The Brooks County Sheriff's Office told KSAT from 2004 to present, authorities have found more than 720 skeletal remains of migrants across the county.

BCSO said June, July, and August are historically the deadliest months in the area.

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