The first time I paid Enriquez a visit, I was ushered into his sparsely furnished office and offered an orange plastic chair. He was dressed in the orange polo shirt that is Grupos Beta's uniform. With a cell phone glued to his ear, he flashed a quick smile and raised an index finger in lieu of a proper hello. He'd be with me as soon as he could; right now he was literally in the middle of a life or death situation. A teenage migrant from the state of Tabasco was lost in the desert, having been separated from the rest of his group of border crossers only hours after starting out. The boy had no food or water, and he was in bad shape. His cell phone battery was low, but he had a clear signal. He was on the Mexican side of the border, which made his situation even more perilous. There would be no miraculous rescues by the U.S. Border Patrol. [Emphasis added] The boy had called his parents, who had in turn rung up Enriquez in a furious panic.[The Business of Human Smuggling on the Mexican Border, August 21, 2009 ]
They managed to rescue the kid, and he will no doubt try this stupid and criminal thing again. Perhaps he will think to take water as well as a cell phone into the desert with him. The late Colonel Jeff Cooper wrote in 1997 that
[O]ur current reliance upon gadgetry seems to be decreasing human competence. People are now taking to the woods with one of these satellite position locators under the impression that that is all that is needed for their safety and safe return. They do not know terrain. They do not understand topography. They rarely have a map but they often do have a cellular phone, believing that if they get in trouble in the woods they may simply ring up somebody and produce a helicopter. The article even mentions a bizarre case in which a hiker was found in dire straights in the wilderness without any sort of competence and no canteen. What he did have in his pack was a laptop computer. Now where do people like that come from!
Well, now we know that one place they come from is Mexico. And Mexico, unlike the United States, doesn't do a good job of search and rescue—"There would be no miraculous rescues..." Right. Those rescues are paid for by the American taxpayer dollar, not the Mexican taxpayer peso.