Advocates Say Rescue Calls Shouldn't Go To Border Patrol

Published: Thursday, May 28, 2015 - 9:20am

TUCSON, Ariz. — The ACLU and faith leaders are calling on two southern Arizona counties to end the practice of sending some rescue calls to the U.S. Border Patrol while responding to others.

The ACLU alleges that Pima and Santa Cruz counties forward distress calls that come from migrants who get lost or injured in the desert but respond to calls from people who are not believed to be immigrants.

They say many calls go directly to the Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue Unit, or BORSTAR, which is equipped with helicopters and other resources that allow agents to search for migrants in remote areas.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said his search and rescue team responds to distress calls and only calls BORSTAR and other agencies when the team needs backup.

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