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‘Daily, Our Agents Save Somebody’s Life’: Border Patrol Agents Recall Cases of Heroism and Compassion

LAREDO, Texas—Temperatures along the southwest border here average about 90 degrees, and inside the trailer of an 18-wheeler can go up to 120 degrees, said Joel Martinez, deputy chief for the U.S. Border Patrol’s Laredo sector.

“We had a 18-wheeler with 120 people in the back. I think seven of them were juveniles,” Martinez told The Daily Signal about a catch of illegal immigrants in May.

“So you can imagine what the consequence would be if they got past us, and they keep driving down the highway with that many people in the back, in the middle of the summer for Laredo. It’s torture.”

Such transport can be deadly for migrants willing to risk being smuggled into the United States, he said.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen what happens when these unscrupulous smugglers put people behind, in trailers or in trains. People die,” Martinez added.

“Luckily for them [the 120 in the tractor-trailer], our agents were doing their job, and they managed to find them before anything bad happened to them.”

Addressing context in the midst of unfortunate migrant deaths, Martinez estimated that Border Patrol agents in his sector alone save at least one life per day.

Laredo is a city of about 250,000 located along the Rio Grande River, the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo in easy sight. It’s a location where the Border Patrol apprehends about 120 illegal immigrants per day. Agents have caught about 24,000 so far this fiscal year, which began in October.

Politicians and certain media outlets breathlessly critique each case in which an illegal immigrant died in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that includes the Border Patrol.

Read the full story from The Daily Signal

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