TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A surge in illegal border crossings is coming just as the temperatures surge up too. Border Patrol---and foreign governments are urging would-be migrants to stay home and stay safe.
Border Patrol and representatives from Mexico and Guatemala came together for what’s become a regular warning not to risk death in the worst of the Arizona heat.
This year’s warning has extra urgency with Border Patrol saying they’re seeing the highest number of border crossers in almost 20 years.
Border Patrol has helicopters on stand by to rescue migrants overcome by the dangers. Agents urge migrants to save their cell phone batteries so they have power to call 9-1-1.
Agents in the elite BORSTAR unit specialize in ground based rescues and say the people they help often tell them they underestimated the risk.
Agent Jonathan Elledge says, “Most of the time it’s that they didn’t know. They thought it was going to be much less time traveling than they anticipated. They didn’t realize they would need more water—that there would be lack of water. They didn’t realize the terrain was as difficult as it was.”
But one challenge is getting the message to prospective migrants in the countries they come from, before they commit to such a dangerous journey.
Rafael Barcelo Durazo, the Mexican Consul for Tucson says they work to get relatives in the U.S. to influence family members still in their home countries---and he says Mexico works with Central American countries to help migrants get jobs that can reduce the economic pressure to migrate.
“Trying to provide the people with employment with an income that perhaps will be much more efficient than any other kind of message might be.”
But Border Patrol says it will have rescue crews ready for those who ignore the warnings or never hear them.