U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Arizona has launched a new initiative to mitigate what has become a pattern of migrants dying in the extreme heat as they attempt to illegally enter the United States.
“In collaboration with Tucson Border Patrol Sector, Three Points Station and Casa Grande Station personnel will be supporting the deployment of new Heat Stress Kits/Go-Bags that will be distributed to 500 agents,” said a CBP press release. “CBP has launched a feasibility study to enhance heat stress awareness among the workforce and minimize the impact of heat exposure along the southwest border for migrants attempting to make the dangerous journey.”
“The Heat Stress Kits will contain helpful items to mitigate potential heat stress injuries and illnesses for agents and migrants alike,” according to the release. “This feasibility study will also provide valuable insights into the usability of the Go-Bags and how best to scale up across all other sectors along the southwest border.”
Last year, migrant deaths in the Arizona desert skyrocketed, as reported by The Arizona Sun Times.
Humane Borders, a humanitarian group, has been tracking migrant deaths in the desert for several years.
Mike Kreyche, the group’s mapping coordinator, said that 127 sets of human remains were found in Arizona during the first half of 2021, breaking the 2017 record of 123.
CBP is working to lower those numbers.
“These kits may seem simple, but they could mean the difference between life and death,” said Tucson Sector Chief John Modlin. “Our agents are trained to know when to use them, how to use them, and will do everything in their power to rescue and save anyone suffering from heat stress.”
Still, Modlin stressed that illegal aliens should remain at home, especially during the summer months. He also warned that human smugglers are out to make a profit, and don’t care whether the migrants live or die.
“However, the message is still clear – if you are thinking of entering the United States illegally, don’t do it. As the summer heat approaches, human smugglers will continue to exploit vulnerable populations and recklessly endanger the lives of migrants for financial gain. The Arizona terrain is extreme, the summer heat is severe, and the miles of desert that migrants must hike after crossing the border are unforgiving.”
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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].