Border Patrol Agents Are Still Saving Lives

It happens so often that it's not considered newsworthy. But each story is laudable.

By Andrew R. Arthur on August 12, 2020

On Friday, August 7, my colleague Todd Bensman wrote on the media's failure to report on the risks faced by CBP officers and agents in assisting illegal aliens suffering from the Wuhan coronavirus (10 CBP employees have died of the illness in the line of duty). It is not the only story of Border Patrol bravery that the increasingly tendentious press has conveniently overlooked. Time to write (and right) the record.

On Tuesday, CBP reported that Border Patrol agents, in conjunction with state police officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), foiled a human smuggling attempt (in a stolen vehicle, no less) in south Laredo.

After running a records check on a white pickup truck, agents attempted to pull it over. The driver was having none of it, and took off south. DPS air support spotted the vehicle and advised the agents, with DPS officers in pursuit. At Market Street (a main commercial thoroughfare in the border town) and Logan Avenue, the occupants bailed out and fled. All 13 of them (at a minimum).

I say "at a minimum" because that's how many DPS and Border Patrol apprehended. The U.S. citizen driver was arrested and booked by DPS, while the other 12 — Mexican nationals in the United States illegally — were handed over to Border Patrol.

This story could have ended much, much worse. The vehicle could have lost control and rolled over — as occurred in November 2018 near Rio Grande City when agents had to extricate a dope smuggler from an overturned Ford Explorer with $242,000 in marijuana on board.

Or the aliens could have been abandoned in the middle of nowhere, as happened Sunday night, when agents near Falfurrias, Texas, had to save two illegal aliens — a man and a woman — who were suffering from heat-related illnesses. They had been dumped by their smuggler in an area so remote, Border Patrol had to transport them to a place where an ambulance could even reach them.

Speaking of heat, on Friday morning, agents working the I-35 checkpoint north of Laredo stopped an unrefrigerated tractor trailer, discovering 63 illegal aliens from Mexico and Guatemala inside. Sixty-three. Four of them were juveniles. If you have never been to Laredo in the summer, trust me — it gets hot. Hot enough to kill.

Perhaps they came from one of the two stash houses in Laredo proper that agents raided later that day. One held 45 illegal aliens from Guatemala and Mexico, the other held six illegal-alien Mexican nationals. Stash houses are their own sorts of hell.

Just ask the U.S. citizen juvenile who discharged a firearm in one near McAllen on Sunday. Police responded, and found 10 illegal aliens inside. No idea why the kid thought it was a good idea to fire the gun, or whether he had any reason (illicit or otherwise) to do so. The McAllen PD, who arrested him, might have some ideas.

Back to Friday, though, when Border Patrol agents from El Centro Sector (another place to avoid in the summer) saved a man immobilized with a broken ankle in the Jacumba Wilderness, which is south of Interstate 8 near In-Ko-Pah in California.

He was rescued with the assistance of not just the responding agents (trained first-responders), but also agents from the medically skilled Border Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) unit (as well as local emergency medical flight services). The BORSTAR agents had to carry the victim (a Mexican national illegally in the United States) down a mountain on foot to a place where he could be airlifted to a hospital in San Diego. He will be fine. He likely would not have been, were it not for the Border Patrol.

No such heroics were necessary two days later when agents from the Calexico station saved a Mexican national (again, illegally present) from drowning in the Briar Canal. Agents just tossed him a line and pulled him out. All in a day's work — saving drowning people.

Why do I say that? Agents from Laredo saved a Honduran woman, pulling her from the Rio Grande as she was losing consciousness on Tuesday morning. Similarly, agents from the El Paso Border Patrol station plucked six Mexican nationals who were "struggling to cross the turbulent waters of the American canal near the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry" out on Thursday. Each was treated. And saved.

Before I forget, while transporting the Honduran woman who was saved from drowning on Tuesday to a place where EMS could reach her, they found a second Honduran, this one with a broken arm. Agents stabilized his arm and called another ambulance.

Seeing a theme here?

I would be remiss if I did not mention the Guatemalan child who was pulled out of a 103-degree trunk at the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint on Saturday afternoon. He will be fine, too. But that could have gone catawampus quickly.

Or the 26-year-old Mexican man who was saved by agents from the Lordsburg (N.M.) Border Patrol station on Wednesday after he entered illegally. Those agents were sent out in response to a missing-person tip from his family. When found after an extensive search, he was "in extreme distress and out of food, water and experiencing severe dehydration."

Or the Mexican national who was saved by agents on Thursday morning near La Joya, Texas. He was in severe pain after suffering a snakebite. He was one of four illegal aliens rescued in the Rio Grande Sector since last Wednesday. The other three had the sense to call 911.

This is all in a week's work. Don't look for these stories in the Washington Post, or on NBC, CBS, ABC, or PBS NewsHour. You likely won't even find them on Fox News. Because Border Patrol agents risking their lives to save others is so common it is like "dog bites man", as opposed to the supposedly more newsworthy "man bites dog". But it is still laudable — even for outlets seeking a different narrative.