More than 3,000 federal agents are assigned to patrol the south Texas border–those designated to the Rio Grande River face a unique set of challenges. We take a closer look in the second part of our Fox 2 special report: “Eyes Wide Open”.
A new shift is about to begin during early hours of the morning… Agents from the marine division of customs and border protection start their engines and prepare themselves for any dangerous situation that might be waiting for them.
They work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to make sure that our communities are safe. This is the first line of defense and the main priority is to deter individuals from entering the United States.
These agents are responsible for over 300 miles of the Rio Grande River. Within minutes of starting our ride along, we witness the moment when an alleged smuggler transports three people on an inflatable raft across the river to U.S. soil. Smugglers are always on the lookout to avoid the patrol. In less than 5 minutes they can manage crossing humans or drugs through the Rio Grande River–high risk situations not only for the agents, but also for those who cross their path. Just as it happened the Sunday afternoon of April 19th, where a patrol boat collided with a fisherman’s boat with a Mexican family on board; an incident that left a 9 year-old body in critical condition and injured two agents. Authorities not yet releasing details of how the accident occurred, however witnesses saying the patrol boat was traveling at high speeds for one reason or another. Nevertheless, border patrol says its commitment to border security continues, even if it means saving those who break the law trying to cross over. For these agents it comes with the territory, a role they feel they must embrace, even with its risks and controversies.