RIO GRANDE, TEXAS – From the time the sun rises until the late hours of the night, border patrol agents work around the clock to process the numerous groups of illegal immigrants in Hidalgo County, Texas. For the past five years, the border patrol along the Rio Grande has taken the number one spot as the country’s busiest in illegal immigrant apprehensions.
Apprehensions this high have not been seen since 2005, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. This 300 percent spike has created a humanitarian crisis.
Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan said, “We are currently facing both a border security and humanitarian crisis along our southwest border.”
This Rio Grande’s sector is 34,000 square miles and runs from the Falcon Dam (Starr County) to the Texas Coastal Bend. To cover this sector there are 3,000 agents who stagger their schedules in order to work around the clock.
Along the Rio Grande, the environmental elements present a challenge to border patrol agents. Agents must be prepared to deal with navigating around private property, moving amongst the trees and bushes, and the water passage the separates Texas from Mexico. In a twelve month period (ending Sept. 30, 2018) more than 63,000 adults and accompanied children were apprehended in the area. In the same period, 75,000 men and women without families were apprehended, and more than 23,000 unaccompanied children went into custody.
Border patrol has not received any indication that it will slow down.
Chief of border patrol operations Brian Hastings said that “There is no reason to expect this trend to decrease. In fact, it will increase.”
Hastings went on to say unlike previous years where undocumented immigrants came from Mexico, the number of undocumented immigrant traffic stems from what is known as the Northern Triangle of Center America (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras).
According to a statement released today from DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen the previous administration’s open border policies have put the country in turmoil along the southern border.
“Activist courts, congressional inaction, and criminals intent on breaking our laws stand in the way of confronting illegal and uncontrolled migration threatening our safety and security. What was a crisis, is now a full-fledged emergency,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen’s statement directly discusses the 268,000 individuals who have been apprehended since the beginning of the 2019 Fiscal Year. The drastic increase in apprehensions is a 97% increase compared to the previous year. In addition, families attempting to cross have increased by 338 percent, and unaccompanied children crossing without proper document increased by 54 percent this year alone.