While many Americans were dealing with the after-effects of a heavy holiday meal, Border Patrol agents in California spent their Thanksgiving weekend rescuing almost two dozen people endangered by the elements.
According to news releases from Customs and Border Protection, agents in the San Diego sector spent Thursday working with local first responders to save people after the area was beset by “unusually heavy rains.”
About an hour before midnight on Thursday, one release says, a Border Patrol agent on patrol found three people trying to cross the border illegally near a drainage tube located about two miles away from a port of entry. Those people told the agent that there were more inside the tube, so, with water levels rising from the rainfall, — agents called San Diego Fire & Rescue to help get them out. In total, the two agencies rescued 17 people and brought them to a hospital.
Hours later, agents heard a woman crying out for help from the same tube. They found the woman and two other people.
“The lifesaving efforts of these agents, who bravely risk their own lives to save others, makes me proud,” said Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison of the rescue efforts in a statement. “Inclement weather conditions and perilous drainage pipe water flows significantly increase the odds of a grim outcome.”
But that wasn’t the end of the sector’s rescue efforts.
Around noon on Friday, CBP also says it got a call from the San Diego sheriff’s department about a distress call from a mother and a 16-year-old daughter in a remote area of the Otay Mountain wilderness, so they mobilized CBP’s Border Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) to find them. Working with the sheriff’s department, Border Patrol was able to pinpoint the two lost women, who were “losing consciousness and were incoherent” when agents were finally able to get to their location. Both women are suspected of illegally entering the United States, the release adds.
But despite stories like these and others about the difficult and often dangerous job they do for the American people, Border Patrol officers still often face criticism from politicians and backlash in their home communities due to the polarized nature of the immigration debate. A report at Conservative Review from July describes how even the children of agents are bullied at schools now.