SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Some members of the U.S. Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector took a break from their daily routines to talk about the need to curtail migrant injuries and deaths along this part of the southern border.
The discussion included a display of makeshift ladders that have been used to get migrants over the 30-foot border barrier.
“Although migrants are told to come up over with these ladders they do not know there’s not a ladder on the other side,” said Patricia McGurk-Daniel, San Diego Sector’s Deputy Chief Patrol Agent.
She said agents are overwhelmed with rescues.
Since last October, the start of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s fiscal year, border officials say 5,000 rescues have been initiated for migrants who get in trouble while trying scale the border barrier or after they’ve crossed the border.
The figure includes 911 calls made into the Border Patrol’s operation center and includes those that turn out to be deceptive.
The San Diego Sector stretches 60 miles east from the ocean over mountains and high desert.
“Whether it’s a wall, it’s the ocean, desert terrain or the mountains where frigid temperatures can drop and people can get hypothermia, smugglers will continue to push their commodities through,” McGurk-Daniel said.
CBP said soon, warning signs will be placed along the border barrier warning migrants about the dangers of jumping over the wall.
Right now, four rescue beacons are in place in hard-to-reach spaces along the border where migrants have been known to get lost or stranded.
“These rescue beacons are equipped with 30-foot towers with strobe lights that can be seen day or night,” said Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Orlando Romero. “They have solar panels to keep electrical components always charged and operational, they have signs in both English and Spanish, other languages are coming for easy to follow instructions and buttons they will press to initiate search and rescue response.”
Also in attendance was Mexico’s Consul General in San Diego, Carlos González Gutiérrez.
“Eight out of 10 persons injured have nothing to do with mountains, deserts, they have to do with the walls and failed attempts to cross them,” he said.
The Consul General said Mexico, at the state and local levels, is working to educate and promote campaigns warning migrants to avoid scaling the walls when trying to cross into the U.S.