EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector is informing the communities on both sides of the border about the dangers of illegally crossing through the U.S. – Mexico Border canals.

Crossing through the International Boundary and Water Commission canals can lead to dangerous situations, especially during this time of year. Large volumes of water are released into the canals from reservoirs in upstream New Mexico, according to a release sent by Border Patrol.

Border Patrol says the water is released for irrigation purposes. Canals get deeper than they appear as the water is released and causes stronger currents with a heavier undertow.

In June 2022, there were 21 migrant water-related deaths in the El Paso sector due to migrants entering the canals, according to Border Patrol.

The Border Patrol adds “Transnational Criminal Organizations smugglers often tell migrants to jump into the canals to avoid apprehension by U.S. Border Patrol Agents.”

“Transnational Criminal Organizations treat migrants as a commodity. These criminals carelessly put migrants in dangerous situations without any regard for their lives,” said El Paso Sector Chief
Patrol Agent Anthony Scott Good.

The community is encouraged to report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol while remaining anonymous by calling 1-800-635-2509.