(UnitedVoice.com) – When President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, he immediately reversed former President Donald Trump’s strict immigration policies. The move came as immigrant caravans headed to the US. Months later, images showed immigrants in Mexico wearing shirts that said, “Biden, please let us in.”
Since then, the border has been in chaos. Millions of immigrants have entered the US without authorization in the nearly two years since he took office. Whenever a migrant enters the country illegally, the situation places Customs and Border Protection agents in danger. Recently, one of those federal law enforcement officers died.
Tragedy on the Border
On December 7, Border Patrol Agent Raul Humberto Gonzalez, Jr. died in an ATV crash while he chased immigrants who entered the country illegally near Mission, Texas. The agent was tracking a group of migrants at about 1 a.m. when he crashed into a closed fence at a very high rate of speed. Some of his colleagues found him unresponsive and began rendering aid. First responders arrived on the scene and transported him to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.
According to reports, the agent had worked for the federal government for more than 10 years before his death. Rep. Mayra Flores, who serves South Texas, tweeted her condolences upon hearing the news of the agent’s death.
My condolences to the family & friends of Border Patrol Agent Raul Gonzalez. He was tragically killed in an ATV accident while protecting our borders. Many knew him as a great father & as a go getter at work. We are forever grateful for his service and sacrifice. #USBP #RGV #RIP pic.twitter.com/euSgBKkbqL
— Mayra Flores (@MayraFlores2022) December 7, 2022
Gonzalez’s two young children survive him.
Gonzalez isn’t the only Border Patrol agent to die while carrying out duties. Earlier this year, Border Patrol Agent Daniel Salazar died in a single-vehicle accident in Campo, California. He suffered injuries when his vehicle rolled over. His wife and a toddler son survive him.
Suicides also take an incredibly high toll on members of the profession. Reps. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) introduced the TAPS Act to address the exceedingly high number of agents who have taken their own lives.
At a news conference on the same day Gonzalez died, the bipartisan lawmakers discussed how important it is to give agents the help they need. Rep. Gonzales said, “The fact that we have 14 agents” who took their own lives in 2022 “is a problem.” Congress has an obligation to ensure it addresses the issue.
The suicides are the highest they have been since 2009. ABC News reported National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said the agency must address the stigma associated with mental health problems before it can actually solve the problem.
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