In One Week, Arizona Police Rescue More Than 30 Border-Crossers From The Desert Heat

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Over thirty undocumented people had to be rescued by Arizona police this week after trying to make the treacherous hike across the border through the blazing Arizona desert, according to an Arizona ABC affiliate. In fact, on Monday afternoon, the office of Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio was in a race against time to save another group, weak and thirsty, who were stranded by their ‘coyote’ — someone people will pay to guide them across the border — at some unknown location within the confines of an Air Force base:

“He said his guide left the group and never returned. The others were too weak to walk, so he walked to the I-8 and called 911,” said MCSO Deputy Juan Francisco Silva.

Deputies believe the group is somewhere on the Air Force base in Gila Bend. The base is doing active training, making the search dangerous because live missiles are being dropped. Deputies want to get them out of there before they are put in any more danger.

“We have to make the effort. There are human beings out there and they are asking for help,” Silva said.

Since 2001, more than 2,100 border crossers have died in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. As the country spends more and more on border security, migrants aren’t deterred from trying to enter. People risk huge harm not just from the elements, but also rape and robbery, to come for jobs, or to be reunited with friends or relatives. And as border security becomes tougher and tougher — there are 21,370 border patrol agents and 1,200 national guard troops at the border, along with 6 unmanned aircraft and huge amounts of mobile and mounted surveillance — migrants become increasingly likely to remain permanently in the US.

ABC attributes a rise in calls for help to increased cellphone usage by undocumented people who are crossing the border. It also corresponds to the growing number of central Americans crossing into Arizona. That isn’t the overall trend: Net undocumented immigration is at or below zero, and illegal crossings are at their lowest level in almost four decades. Arizona’s increased crossings likely come from deadly massacres at the Mexican side of the Texas border, diverting migrants to other states.