Jun 21, 2013 10:59 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Border rescues on the rise, along with heat

TUCSON - With temperatures soaring past 100, it doesn't take long to get dehydrated in the desert. Few places feel the heat more than the Southern Arizona border.

And as immigrants attempt to make the trek in from Mexico, many of them fall victim to those scorching temperatures.

It takes a lot of physical stamina to make it beyond the fence, something border patrol agent Brent Cagen knows all too well.

"It's physically impossible for them to carry the amount of water needed to make this kind of journey."

Over the last month Border Patrol has rescued more than 200 undocumented immigrants. From that total alone more than 50 were rescued in just one week alone.

Cagen says many end up being blindsided by lies from smugglers.

"They're telling them it's going to be a short walk and that it's going to only take a couple hours to get to Phoenix." And if a person can't keep up, they're left behind to fend for themselves.

Agents find these battered border-crossers through local law enforcement or one of 22 rescue beacons along the Tucson border. Border Patrol's rescue group, "BORSTAR" has about 15 trained paramedics who can respond to the call for help.

"Often times their shoes are not made for the kind of journey they're going to be taking," says Cagen. "So their feet are very badly blistered, and they have multiple injuries from dehydration to broken bones."


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