Additional Border Patrol Agents Deployed in Effort to Prevent Cold-Related Deaths

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MCALLEN – A drop in temperatures in the Rio Grande Valley region prompted the deployment of additional U.S. Border Patrol agents to the Falfurrias area.

The agents will help locate people in the country illegally before freezing temperatures claim their lives.

Last month, nine immigrant deaths were reported in the RGV sector during a cold snap.

Those who cross the border illegally are left exposed to cold days and colder nights with no shelter or warm clothing.

"Immigrants are extremely ill-prepared to endure extended periods of exposure to this type of weather," said Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Robert Rodriguez.

Border patrol agents are tasked with tracking immigrants on foot near the river and follow the footprints north.

Rodriguez pointed out several tracks forming a path.

“You can also see on top of it where the foot sign is weathered. Additionally, what I did was call it into the tactical operations center. I confirmed with them (McAllen Border Patrol Station) to make sure that this group or these groups had been apprehended already,” explained Rodriguez.

Agents want to locate those who crossed the border illegally before the cold air kills them.

During the 24-hour operation, agents are also exposed to the elements. At times, they could spend an entire shift, depending on the operation.

Rodriguez said since deaths are more common in the Falfurrias ranchlands, that’s why additional agents were sent there in anticipation of cooler weather.

Agents locally and in Falfurrias will brave the elements in an attempt to prevent cold-related deaths during the first cold front of the year.

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