TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Cell Phone Saves Illegal Immigrants Lost in Arizona Desert

Cell Phone Saves Illegal Immigrants Lost in Arizona Desert

Reuters News Wire (
Thu, 8 Jun 2006 15:26:46 -0500

A group of stranded illegal immigrants facing death in the parched
Arizona desert saved themselves by using a cell phone to call rescue
services, the U.S. Border Patrol said.

The group of eight Mexicans got lost in the desert southeast of Tacna,
Arizona, and called for help early on Wednesday after their guides
abandoned them during a two-day trek across the border from Mexico.

Disoriented and without food or water, they used a cell phone to dial
911. Rescuers dispatched helicopters and located the group shortly
before dawn, the Yuma Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol said in a

President George W. Bush visited Yuma on Tuesday as part of a tour to
drum up support for an immigration overhaul that seeks to give
millions of illegal immigrants a pathway to U.S. citizenship and
tighten security on the Mexico border.

Arizona is the principal route for mostly Mexican migrants seeking a
new life in the United States. Last year more than 260 died trekking
north over the desert, where summer temperatures reach highs of around
120 degrees F (49 C).

This year, the Border Patrol has stepped up flights over the
scorching, cactus-strewn wastes in a bid to save more lives. So far
agents have rescued 309 migrants in the Yuma area since October 1, up
from 203 in the same period a year earlier.

"This summer we are not going to be caught off guard ... we are
definitely better prepared," said Richard Hays, the Border Patrol's
spokesman in Yuma.

The number of recorded migrant deaths in the desert state has dropped
to 107 in the eight months since October from 124 in the same period a
year earlier, Border Patrol figures show.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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