Press Release

Cuellar Legislation Directs DHS Search & Rescue Report

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Washington, June 12, 2017 | Victoria Glynn | comments

After Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) directed them to do so, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a report on its search and rescue efforts, including the causes of death of migrants attempting to cross the southwest border.

Last month, the House of Representatives passed the FY17 Omnibus Appropriations Act, including requirements from Congressman Cuellar that DHS prepare this report.

Congressman Cuellar said:

“Crossing our southwestern border is an illegal and dangerous undertaking. We know hundreds of lives are lost each year as people attempt this risky journey. However, we need more information to address this problem.

The U.S. Border Patrol, while securing our homeland, also saves many of these migrants’ lives, especially the Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue Unit (BORSTAR). This report allows us to both acknowledge their current heroic efforts, and begin to identify where and how they can improve.

I thank my colleagues, Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman John Carter and Ranking Member Lucille Roybal-Allard, for working with me on this language and improving Border Patrol’s ability to not only secure our borders, but save lives.”

The full report is attached. It found that Border Patrol has more than 246 trained and certified BORSTAR Unit agents, and 1,200 certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). In 2016, the Rio Grande Sector had 1,377 rescues and 130 deaths, while the Laredo Sector had 1,018 rescues and 68 deaths.

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