Thirteen illegal immigrants almost suffocated to death inside a boxcar in San Antonio, TX. According to officials, the temperature inside the container car was over 140 degrees.
Seven illegal immigrants died in California waiting for the man who was smuggling them to return. By the time they were discovered by a farm hand, they had been dead for over a week. According to an INS spokesman, "they were lying under a tree, apparently dropped off by a smuggler and left to wait for another van."
These are just two examples of the tremendous danger facing people who attempt to cross the border during this summer, one of the hottest on record. At least 80 illegal immigrants have died this summer as a result of heat while crossing the border. While the heat is the immediate cause of death, the reason so many immigrants are wandering through unknown areas along the border is that all the familiar routes are blocked by the border patrol's Operation Gatekeeper, which has tripled the number of agents at the most common crossings. Because these areas are unknown, people become lost, and by the time they realize they need medical attention, they are too far from anywhere to obtain it.
As a result of the heat the Border Patrol is concentrating more effort on rescuing victims of the heat. According to spokeswoman Paty Mancha, "they're spending as much time searching for victims as they are doing their regular job."
Both the border patrol and Mexican authorities are issuing warnings not to attempt the crossing during the summer, but many still make the journey.