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Border Patrol sees increase in rescues in remote Yuma County

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More migrants risking their lives to cross most dangerous part of the desert

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Yuma Sector Border Patrol Agents are seeing a big increase in rescues in remote parts of Yuma County, particularly in the Wellton area.

Border Patrol tells News 11's Carmen Valencia, so far in 2020, agents have made more than 70 rescues. They made more than 60 rescues in 2019. That's a 20% increase.

Agents say most of those who need help suffer from heat-related problems. Those who cross through the most remote parts of the the Sonoran Desert face the greatest risk.


“They bring like 2 or 3 gallons of water which in this type of summer conditions - it’s just not enough to survive.”  said Agent Vinny Dulesky.

So far this year, four people have died trying to cross the desert. Last year, the trek killed five people. However, the heat isn't the only danger migrants face while trying to reach the U.S.


“It could be anything from canal rescues, get someone out of the river, water rescues, someone locked in the trunk who can’t get out.” Agent Dulesky said.

Dulesky say it can take anywhere from 2 to 3 days to make the crossing and reach their destination. He says most of those crossing the desert are trying to avoid agents. Others are trying to reunite with the loved ones, and some take the risk because they have a criminal background and can't get a visa.

Today on News 11 Early Edition, Carmen Valencia takes a closer took at the dangers faced by migrants, and how the Border Patrol is saving many lives.

Top Stories / Yuma County

Carmen Valencia

Carmen Valencia joined KYMA in early September of 2018 as a multimedia journalist.

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