Lifeguards pull 3 Mexican citizens from ocean after report of large-scale crossing attempt

The man, woman and unaccompanied boy pulled from water were uninjured; officials received a report that dozens attempted the late-night swim.


San Diego lifeguards pulled three people from the ocean Monday night after it was reported that dozens of people were attempting to swim from Mexico into the United States, authorities said.

Tijuana officials reported the crossing attempt about 9:30 p.m., telling officials in San Diego there was “some sort of commotion down by the marine boundary line,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Alex Gray, public affairs specialist with the Coast Guard, said late Monday.

According to the Border Patrol, the agency “received a report that dozens of people were attempting to illegally swim across the international boundary ... near Border Field State Park.” Agents responded to the area — where dense fog was covering much of the coast — and immediately requested help from the Coast Guard and San Diego Fire-Rescue Department firefighters and lifeguards.


Rick Romero, a San Diego lifeguard lieutenant, said the three people pulled from the water were uninjured. Border Patrol agents took custody of the trio, which consisted of a man, a woman and an unaccompanied boy who were all Mexican citizens, according to the agency.

Authorities continued to search the waters near the border but did not find any additional people, according to the Border Patrol.

Romero said Imperial Beach lifeguards assisted, and authorities remained at the scene searching until after midnight.

“We’ve seen calls down there a lot lately,” Romero said. “It happens all the time.”

A similar large-scale crossing attempt occurred the night of Oct. 29.

In that instance, 36 Mexican nationals were apprehended and one woman attempting the swim, 50-year-old Tijuana resident Teresa Ramirez Magdaleno, died as dozens of migrants rushed into the border surf around 11:40 p.m.

Officials later estimated about 70 had tried to swim the Tijuana side of the border barrier, a new level of risk being taken by those desperate to reach the U.S.

Experts say migrants are turning to the ocean to cross the border at least in part because of strict enforcement. They point to a federal policy known as Title 42, which allows authorities to expel migrants who are stopped along the border without allowing them to apply for asylum.


Apprehension of migrants and suspected smugglers at sea along the Southern California coast nearly doubled from fiscal year 2019 to 2020. It has continued to climb in fiscal year 2021, with 1,460 apprehensions as of July 20, according to Customs and Border Protection.