Three immigrants attempting to illegally enter the U.S had to be rescued by California firefighters when they got stuck atop the southern border wall that former President Trump built.
Members of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department responded to a call for assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection after three men scaled the 30-foot steel barrier in Tijuana and found they had no way to get back down the other side into the United States.
The three males were summarily taken into custody by Border Patrol agents.
NBC 7 in San Diego reported calls for rescue assistance have increased, owing largely to misleading advice from drug smugglers.
(Video: NBC 7 San Diego)
“It’s a very common rescue that we have down here in [Otay Mesa],” Cal Fire San Diego County Capt. Brett Bruno told the outlet. “They can get up in between the fences but they can’t get down on this side without causing significant injury.”
At least 375 migrants have been treated for serious injuries caused by falls from the border wall between 2019 and 2021 in San Diego County, the Daily Mail reported. Conversely, only 67 people were injured in accidents between 2016 and 2019.
A study conducted in April by UC San Diego Health blamed the increase in injuries and deaths on Trump’s executive order of January 2017, which increased the height of the wall to 30 feet across some 4oo-plus miles of the barrier. Prior to that order, some portions of the border wall were as low as six feet.
The study cited 16 fatalities since 2019 where previously there were zero deaths.
(Video: Daily Mail)
“The height increase of the border wall along the San Ysidro and El Centro sectors was touted as making the barrier ‘unclimbable’ but that has not stopped people from attempting to do with consequential results,” wrote Dr. Amy Liepert, the UC San Diego Health medical director of acute care surgery.
“Additional capacity and associated costs were not accounted for in the federally appropriated funds to reinforce and heighten the border barrier system,” Liepert continued. “Hospital costs for border wall-injured immigrants at UC San Diego Health alone are estimated to be approximately $13 million between 2019 and 2021.”
“This is a local public health crisis that has worsened trauma center bed capacity, resulting in staff shortages and has taxed our extremely dedicated health care professionals,” wrote Dr. Jay Doucet, the division chief of trauma and surgical critical care at UC San Diego Health. “It is also a humanitarian crisis in which people are being severely injured or dying at the border, and because this is happening it is impacting available access to trauma care for San Diegans as well.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says drug traffickers continually misrepresent the dangers of trying to scale the border wall to those seeking to enter the U.S. illegally.
The agency told the Telemundo sister station of NBC 7 in May:
The border wall was built to deter illegal crossings, yet smugglers constantly lie to migrants about how easily they can bypass it. It is common for smugglers to instruct them to climb unsafe ropes or ladders to the top of 18- or 30-foot walls without providing a means to climb down the other side. Even a person in optimal physical condition would have difficulty getting down from the structure.
When people are injured by falling walls, Border Patrol agents respond to provide them with first aid and get the medical treatment they need. Transnational criminal organizations use these events as distractions to smuggle groups through other areas. These criminals also attempt to smuggle people through dangerous waterways, remote and treacherous terrain, and kidnapped in cars or in the backs of tractor-trailers. All of these can cause serious injury or death.
CBP recently began the process to track falls from border infrastructure. The San Diego Sector Border Patrol is working to improve methods of tracking rescues in each category to include wall fall injuries.
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