Agents Aim to Lower Missing Migrant Cases
WESLACO – Border Patrol agents are working with countries south of the border in an effort to keep migrants who cross into the U.S. illegally from disappearing.
Agents working on the Missing Migrant Program just returned from El Salvador. They told CHANNEL 5 NEWS it was a productive trip.
No matter the climate, in politics or weather, people cross the border illegally. Sometimes they die trying to do it.
That’s the reasoning behind the Border Patrol’s Missing Migrant Program.
“There no precedence for this program really,” said Hugo Vega, the leading agent in the Rio Grande Valley sector.
He said he’s still developing best practices for how to respond to a report of a missing migrant.
The process involves working governments, non-profits and families in countries south of the border, such as El Salvador. Vega just returned from a meeting there.
“We’re trying to consolidate and synchronize reporting methodologies with Central American countries,” said Vega.
He met with consulate officials, forensic scientists and families of missing people.
Missing people like the woman CHANNEL 5 NEWS told you about in a special report, were left behind after coyotes left her alone on a ranch in Brooks County.
Her brother told us about the regret he felt for compelling her to make the journey and the pain of not knowing what happened.
“I would like to know, for me to be at peace,” said her brother.
Vega has also traveled to Guatemala and Honduras, hoping eventually all countries will come together and make the Missing Migrant Program stronger.
Vega believes having strong communication with Central American countries will help agents get the information they need to locate a missing migrant faster.
He hopes to work on a campaign with Central American consulates to urge people of the importance of calling 911 when they get lost in the brush, so authorities can get an idea of the location they’re lost in.