First responders in San Diego pulled three people out of the ocean Monday night after dozens of people were reported trying to swim across Mexico into the United States, according to authorities.
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Tijuana authorities reported the attempted crossing at about 9:30 p.m., and San Diego authorities reported that there was “some kind of disturbance on the maritime boundary line,” Third Petty Officer Alex Gray said late Monday. .
According to Border Patrol, the agency “received a report that dozens of people were attempting to swim illegally across the international border… near Border Field State Park.” Agents flocked to the area — thick fog covered much of the coast — and immediately called for help from the Coast Guard, firefighters and first responders from the San Diego Fire and Rescue Department.
The three people who pulled out of the water were unharmed, said Rick Romero, a lieutenant with the San Diego rescue team. Border Patrol agents were then responsible for guarding the trio, made up of a man, woman and an unaccompanied minor, all of whom are Mexican citizens, according to the agency.
Authorities continued to search waters near the border but found no one else, according to the Border Patrol.
Romero said lifeguards at Imperial Beach helped, and authorities at the site were still searching until after midnight.
“Recently, we’ve seen a lot of calls there. It happens all the time,” Romero said.
A similar mass crossing attempt occurred on the night of 29 October.
In that incident, 36 Mexican nationals were arrested and a woman trying to swim, Teresa Ramirez Magdaleno, 50, of Tijuana, was killed when dozens of migrants rushed to the border around 11:40 p.m.
Later, authorities estimated that about 70 migrants tried to swim across the border barrier from Tijuana, posing a new level of risk for those desperate to reach the United States.
Experts say migrants are turning to the sea to cross the border, at least in part, because of strict surveillance. They point to a federal policy known as Title 42, which allows authorities to expel immigrants detained at the border without allowing them to apply for asylum.
Arrests of immigrants and suspected smugglers at sea along the Southern California coast nearly doubled from fiscal year 2019 to 2020. It continued to climb in fiscal year 2021, with 1,460 arrests as of July 20, according to Customs and Border Protection.
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