There are quite a few articles (for example, here and here) on rescue beacons found in desert regions of the USA near the Mexican border. The articles above (as well as others), come out and admit that the primary use case for these beacons is for persons who have entered the USA unlawfully and have gotten lost or stuck in the desert. If a person pushes the button, they get rescued from the desert but are a sitting duck for deportation, which typically follows as soon as the person is stable.
My question is, what happens if someone lawfully in the US pushes the button at one of these beacons and stays around for a rescue? For example, let's say that some US citizens are out hiking in the Arizona desert near the border, get lost and dehydrated, and decide to push the button. What actually is supposed to happen to them?
Yes, I realize that these beacons are placed in wilderness areas where there isn't a lot of lawful activity (so the vast majority of people who end up there are going to be undocumented anyway), but I'm curious if there is an official or de-facto procedure when someone turns up who is lawfully in the US.
- Does the person get rescued and unceremoniously dumped in the nearest town?
- Does the person get sent home with a big bill for the rescue?
- Does the person get charged anyway with some non-immigration offense?