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Border & Immigration

Border patrol cautions migrants about dangers of inclement weather

Migrants wait in the desert near Jacumba Hot Springs for immigration processing, October 6, 2023.<br/>
Matthew Bowler
Migrants wait in the desert near Jacumba Hot Springs for immigration processing, October 6, 2023.

The San Diego Sector of the Border Patrol issued a warning Wednesday to migrants considering crossing the border about the dangers posed by inclement weather throughout San Diego County.

USPB cautioned that heavy rains and cold fronts in the mountains of San Diego's East County increase the possibility of injury, sickness, or even death to those who attempt to illegally enter the United States.

"Our message to migrants thinking of illegally crossing the border is this: do not put your lives at risk. The smugglers do not care about you, they have abandoned others in the past and left numerous migrants to fend for themselves," San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Patricia McGurk-Daniel said in a statement. "Human smugglers only see you as a commodity they can profit from — not a human being."


With San Diego County awaiting some of the coldest days of the year, smuggling organizations continue to guide migrants through some of the county's most arduous environments. Temperatures this time of year can fall drastically, especially at night, exposing migrants to freezing temperatures in eastern San Diego County. Smugglers will not be warning migrants of the effects of cold weather on their physical and mental health, and the very real risks of hypothermia, frost bite, or death. Previously abandoned migrants have been severely injured and some have died, officials said.

Over the years, the U.S. Border Patrol has implemented various safety measures to combat the danger, such as public service announcements; agents carrying cold weather kits containing blankets, water, food, and heat packs; the deployment of rescue beacons throughout the border region; and active patrols by the Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue team. Additionally, every Border Patrol agent is trained as a first responder, according to the agency.

In Fiscal Year 2023, the San Diego Sector of the Border Patrol recorded more than 5,600 rescues.