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DHS: more humane treatment for immigrants rescued near border

As summer weather finally begins to arrive in force, it becomes more dangerous for people from Mexico to attempt to cross the border. On both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border fence, what used to be called the Great American Desert stretches for hundreds of miles with little relief from the heat.

The tragedy is quite real. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, the number of people requiring rescue while trying to cross the U.S.-Mexican border is on the rise, even though instances of unauthorized immigration are said to be sharply down.

The Border Patrol says that it rescued 435 people who had been attempting to cross the border between Oct. 2010 and May 2011. The summer months were brutal however -- the agency rescued 493 people in the summer, for a total of 1070 over the government's fiscal year 2011. The physical threat of desert heat is so serious that the Border Patrol has a special unit set up to save undocumented migrants who might very well die without their help. The unit is called BORSTAR, or border search, trauma and rescue.

Recently, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Mexico’s Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire signed a cross-border agreement meant to guarantee more humane treatment for people who become lost or injured attempting to cross, or who are detained on the U.S. side of the border.

The result of that agreement, however, may simply mean that the U.S. Border Patrol won’t release undocumented immigrants to hot and sometimes dangerous border cities where they have no friends or support. That approach is thought to lead people into additional danger, as some attempt to re-enter the U.S. Instead, the agency plans to release deported immigrants deeper into Mexico.

The question must certainly arise: where, exactly, will the Border Patrol be sending these people? What if they aren’t from Mexico? What if they’re U.S. citizens like the man we discussed in our last blog post, who has repeatedly been the target of deportation attempts despite having become a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1987?

We can all certainly hope that the agreement between Napolitano and Poire results in more humane treatment for immigrants, but without more information, how can we know?

Source: Fox News Latino, "Border Beat: Deeper Deportations, Rescues Up, and More," Patrick Manning, June 11, 2013