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Camp Grip: The U.S. Border Patrol's Isolated Base

Stephanie Sanchez

In May 2001-a group of 26 illegal immigrants from Mexico attempting to cross the U.S. Mexico Border were left to fend for themselves in the Arizona desert by the coyotes they’d hired to smuggle them into the United States.

With no food or water, 14 immigrants died of heat exhaustion.

The deaths sparked a debate over efforts to stem illegal immigration and humanitarian efforts to help immigrants who cross Arizona’s treacherous southern deserts.

One response was to bring border patrol agents closer to those dangerous desert areas and the immigrants and smugglers who use them as a path into the U.S.

KAWC’s Stephanie Sanchez traveled to Camp Grip with U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Yuma Sector to find out more about one of the border patrols most remote bases more than a decade after its creation.

Credit Stephanie Sanchez
The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge is part of U.S. Border Patrol's Yuma Sector.

Credit Stephanie Sanchez
U.S. Border Patrol agents drag tires across major dirt roads to help smooth dirt. It helps them track down illegal border crossers.

Credit Stephanie Sanchez
Illegal immigrants crossing through Arizona’s treacherous southern deserts places them at risk for heat-related illnesses and even death.

Credit Stephanie Sanchez
Rescue beacons set throughout the desert in the Yuma sector allows immigrants to call for help.