Border Patrol deploys emergency beacons to assist migrants in distress in remote areas

National News

Four towers with accessible panic button deployed near Lordsburg, New Mexico; 11 more coming to El Paso Sector

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EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The U.S. Border Patrol has deployed four life-saving emergency beacons in a busy migrant corridor near Lordsburg, New Mexico.

These self-sustaining towers purposely placed in some of the region’s most remote areas will allow lost or exhausted migrants to press a “panic” button and summon the Border Patrol for assistance. They are the first of 15 the El Paso Sector of the Border Patrol plans to deploy in its Far West Texas-Southern New Mexico area of responsibility. Another five “legacy” beacons have been in operation for some time in the Deming area.

The beacons are solar-powered transmission towers equipped with a “panic” button to summon help. (U.S. Border Patrol)

The sector “is working in collaboration with non-governmental organizations, federal, state and county agencies as well as foreign government partners to set up rescue beacons in remote areas where migrants may be in distress due to exposure to the elements,” the Border Patrol said in a news release.

The announcement comes as exposure in desert and mountain areas and drownings in rivers and canals have claimed 383 lives in the Southern border through the end of July. That’s a two-decade high and already surpassed last year’s toll of 253 bodies, according to national news reports.

The Border Patrol described the areas where the towers are being placed as “inhospitable terrain” with no access to quick medical help and little or no cell phone reception. This includes mountains, large stretches of desert and brush.

The Border Patrol’s Big Bend Sector is deploying these “rescue beacons” throughout the sector to help save lives. The Big Bend Sector is currently experiencing an unprecedented number of migrant rescues and deaths. Individuals who cross illegally into the United States through the desert risk facing difficult terrain, dehydration, dangerous wildlife, and abandonment by smugglers. The goal of the rescue beacon program is to provide a lifeline to the migrants who find themselves in need of help. (Fernie Ortiz/Border Report)

“These rescue beacons will help Border Patrol Agents and our law enforcement partners to more quickly facilitate the rescue of missing and endangered migrants resulting in lives saved,” El Paso Sector Border Patrol Chief Agent Gloria I. Chavez said.

“The El Paso Sector Border Patrol continues to proactively collaborate with (non-government) original and third-party partners to support humanitarian efforts,” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez.

The agency encourages community members to report suspicious or life-threatening activity anonymously by calling 1-800-635- 2509.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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The mission of BorderReport.com is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.

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