Mexico Says Smugglers Abandon Migrants At Sea
Monday, April 29, 2013
Aired 5/1/13 on KPBS News.
Mexican authorities say smugglers abandon hundreds of migrants at sea as they attempt to sneak into the U.S. by boat along the Pacific coast.
The Mexican navy and National Institute of Migration say each month smugglers leave 10 to 12 boats full of migrants stranded off the coast of Baja California.
Mexican authorities have rescued abandoned boats packed with around 20 migrants with no food, communication or emergency gear. The authorities say smugglers tell the migrants the boat needs fixing, then take off in another vessel and don’t return.
U.S. immigration and Coast Guard officials have seen an increase in recent years in maritime smuggling of drugs and migrants. A coast guard officer was killed last December when smugglers rammed his boat off the Channel Islands.
On Monday, Border Patrol agents north of San Diego arrested 18 people suspected of entering the country illegally by boat. Two were taken to a hospital with possible hypothermia.