A group of immigrants from Honduras were illegally crossing the Rio Grande last Friday when the inflatable kiddie pools they were using as rafts capsized. One of the five children in the group was a 7-year-old boy who was being swept away from his mother by the current. Fortunately, the Border Patrol was watching and an agent jumped into the water to rescue him. All of this happened while a reporter and photographer from the San Antonio Express-News were on hand for a ride-along:
My colleague Bob Owen, a San Antonio Express-News photographer, and I heard shouting. Our hearts began to race. We leaped out of the vehicle…
Border Patrol agents already on the scene threw ropes with rescue devices into the river. “Grab the bags, grab the bags,” they shouted. A 7-year-old boy was struggling in the current. He screamed. His head went underwater…
[Agent Brady] Waikel jumped into the river. His feet couldn’t reach the bottom, so he grabbed the carrizo cane on the river bank for support as he hauled the boy out of the water…
“I didn’t even think about it,” said Waikel, 40, who has a 7-year-old son of his own.
“The mom had the kid over here, and she lost him, and he was drifting off. I didn’t want to wait.”
All nine of the migrants crossing the river survived thanks to the Border Patrol. A similar group who crossed a few days earlier weren’t as lucky. They came across in the dark when no one was watching. A 10-month old drowned and three others are missing and presumed dead.
Agent Waikel was nonchalant about diving into rushing water that was over his head to save a complete stranger. “I happened to be there that one day,” he told the reporter adding, “the agents out there on the ground, they do that on a near-daily occurrence.” Thing is, I believe that. I bet he’s right that agents are rescuing people fairly often. The difference this time is that a reporter and a photographer happened to be there.
I wanted to highlight this story because this isn’t the image of the Border Patrol that the far-left has been painting for the past year. These agents have been blamed for the tragic death of two children with the implication made that they don’t care about the people they interact with or maybe don’t treat them like people. You can see how this attitude trickles down in this video of student activists repeatedly calling Border Patrol agents the “murder patrol.”
This story shows that’s not even close to reality. Border Patrol agents are people willing to dive into a fast-moving river holding onto a bit of a bush to rescue a child. And they don’t even consider that a big deal because they would all do it. These are good people doing a difficult job under circumstances that even the NY Times now admits are at crisis levels. We can debate how best to deal with the immigration crisis but we should do that without denigrating the motives or humanity of the people on the front lines of that crisis.