Rising temperatures prompt ‘severe’ warning from border guard chief

The heat wave ravaging the southwestern region of the United States is creating “even worse” conditions for migrants crossing the Mexican border, according to Jason Owens, head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

With a warning Posted Speaking to Border officials have also received 190 alerts from the rescue beacons, which CBP says are placed in remote, high-risk locations and allow migrants to call for medical attention or rescue personnel.

“Warning: Summer is just around the corner,” Owens wrote in his post. “High temperatures and remote ranch areas/desert make already dangerous conditions even more dire.”

Rising temperatures prompt 'severe' warning from BorderPatrol
Texas National Guard soldiers install border fencing layered with concertina wire near the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas, on April 2. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents warned that excessive heat in parts…

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Officials near El Paso, Texas, have seen an increase in heat-related injuries and deaths over the past week as temperatures have risen well above 100 degrees. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued an extreme heat warning earlier this week for large parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and southern Utah. The heaviest temperatures were expected to hit Wednesday morning through Thursday or Friday.

“The desert environment is extremely unforgiving, especially during the summer months,” El Paso Border Patrol Chief Anthony Good said in a statement. “We urge anyone crossing illegally to understand the serious risks. Our officers work tirelessly to save lives. But the best way to stay safe is not to make an illegal crossing.”

According to a message posted Monday, Border Patrol agents received calls about “several emergencies” over the weekend. CBP reported four migrant deaths due to heatstroke and dehydration. The El Paso Times reported that the migrants died near Santa Teresa, New Mexico, just west of the El Paso border, during illegal border crossings.

Officer Good said in a message to X last week that officers in Santa Teresa responded to six heat-related injuries to migrants in six hours.

In fiscal year 2024, CBP said its agents conducted more than 656 humanitarian rescues in the El Paso sector alone.

The El Paso Border Patrol has launched a campaign to broadcast messages via radio and social media to areas where illegal border crossings are “most common,” according to Monday’s news release. The campaign’s goal “is to inform and deter individuals from making the dangerous journey.”

Newsweek On Wednesday, CBP contacted us by email for additional information.