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The Most Heroic Child Rescues Made By Border Patrol Agents

REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
  • Thousands of rescues are made by the Border Patrol every year. Customs and Border Protection revealed that over 2,000 migrants have been saved this fiscal year already. 
  • Many of the rescued migrants are children. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan announced that dozens of child rescues have been made in May alone. 
  • Operations on the Rio Grande have grown dramatically in recent time, with the number of water-related rescues increasing by nearly 400%.

The Daily Caller News Foundation takes a look back at some of the most courageous child migrant rescues made by the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol.

As migrants continue to reach the U.S. southern border in increasing numbers, more law enforcement agents are called on to save those who are unable to survive the journey. Border Patrol agents rescued 2,744 people this fiscal year to date. This marks a sharp increase from the entirety of fiscal year 2018, where 2,285 people were rescued, according to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson.

“While CBP places emergency beacons in the desert and deploys special response teams, such as the Border Patrol, Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) units, the journey is still far too dangerous for individuals, especially families travelling with young children, to make the dangerous journey north,” the spokesperson said to TheDCNF.

The acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, testifying before a congressional committee on Wednesday, revealed that “dozens” of child rescues have taken place on the Rio Grande in May alone.


Below is a list of just a few child rescues made by Border Patrol in the past few months.

Agent Jumps In Rio Grande To Save Six-Year-Old

Border Patrol agents apprehended a man found illegally crossing into U.S. territory near Eagle Pass, Texas, on May 1. However, after the man informed them that he was part of a makeshift raft that capsized on the Rio Grande river, a new mission began to save his wife, 10-month-old son, 6-year-old son and 7-year-old nephew.

Cries from nearby brought agents to the riverbank, where a woman and child were seen struggling to stay afloat in the water. Disregarding his own safety, one agent leaped into the river and rescued the two individuals, later identified as the child and wife of the man who was first apprehended. Border Patrol Emergency Medical Personnel treated the 6-year-old boy on site and then rushed him to a hospital for additional treatment.

Airboat Rescues Three Children Swept Away In Current

A Guatemalan mother and her three children, ages 2, 4 and 15, were swept away as they attempted to cross the Rio Grande River on March 28. Luckily for the family of four, Border Patrol was patrolling the area on an airboat. Agents were able to maneuver their airboat against the strong current and pull all of them into safety.

“Migrants continue to ignore the hazards and risk their lives attempting to cross the Rio Grande River,” then-acting Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Louie W. Collins said in a statement following the rescue. “Had our Border Patrol agents not been in the area to respond quickly, the woman and her children would have more than likely drowned.”

Agents Rescue Child Suffering From Apparent Seizures And Convulsions

Upon receiving a call on March 25 about a toddler in distress, a CBP helicopter piloted by Air and Marine Operations personnel was immediately deployed to find the young girl. The two-year old girl, who appeared to be suffering from convulsions and seizures, was located and rushed to a medical facility in Eagle Pass, Texas.

“The level of cooperation we’ve received from both the Eagle Pass Fire Department and the medical staff at Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center has been nothing short of exemplary,” stated Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Felix Chavez. “I am extremely proud of our agents and the Air and Marine pilots for their quick action and response locating this child and getting her the care she needed.”

A U.S. border patrol agent rescues migrants crossing the Rio Bravo towards the United States, in Piedras Negras

A U.S. border patrol agent rescues migrants crossing the Rio Bravo towards the United States, in Piedras Negras, Mexico, February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

Agents Chase Down Human Smugglers, Find Abandoned 3-Year-Old Instead

Border Patrol spotted a group of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S. border near Brownsville, Texas, on April 23. When agents attempted to apprehend the group, most of the individuals scattered into a cornfield. However, one person was left behind: A 3-year-old toddler crying by himself.

The only identification on the boy was his name and a phone number, both of which were written on his shoe. Border Patrol had still not been able to locate the boy’s family when they reported on the rescue. Before he was taken into the care of Health and Human Services, an agent bought clothes for the toddler and fellow employees entertained him with movies and games. (RELATED: Border Patrol Rescues Three-Year-Old Girl Abandoned Near River By Smuggler)

Agent Jumps In River And Saves Drowning 7-Year-Old

Dramatic photos were captured of a Border Patrol agent jumping into the Rio Grande to rescue a drowning 7-year-old boy. The boy was part of a group that tried to cross the river on a children’s inflatable swimming pool, but had capsized, spilling the occupants into the dangerous currents.

Border Patrol threw ropes out to the migrants and told them to hang on. However, the current proved too strong for the young boy, who became submerged underwater. Not regarding his own safety, Border Patrol agent Brady Waikel threw himself into the water and grabbed the Honduran boy before it was too late.

“I didn’t even think about it,” Waikel, a veteran of the Border Patrol for almost two decades, said about the rescue. “The mom had the kid over here, and she lost him, and he was drifting off. I didn’t want to wait.”

More rescues such as these are expected to happen as the summer moths approach, a time of year when higher numbers of foreign nationals attempt to cross into the U.S. illegally.

“CBP is continuing to monitor unprecedented levels of illegal migration, which is especially dangerous this time of year. As temperatures increase, so do the number of life-saving rescues by the U.S. Border Patrol,” a CBP spokesperson said to TheDCNF.

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