Illegal Immigration Surge in Texas Spurs Border Patrol Shift

At a hearing of Texas lawmakers held in Austin, Texas in April, Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw said there is a “dramatic increase” in illegal immigration moving into South Texas. The increase is so massive, the U.S. Border Patrol is beginning to move more Border Patrol agents from other areas into Texas.

The number of illegal aliens being arrested per day in the Rio Grande Sector of South Texas, according to an Associated Press (AP) report dated May 23rd, is averaging 1,100 per day. This number is from the May 11-17 reporting period. That is roughly the same number of U.S. citizens that Governor Rick Perry claims are also moving to Texas on a daily basis. The 1,100 per day of illegal immigration are just the ones being arrested.

For the past year, the Border Patrol has been attempting to meet the surge in illegal immigration by beefing up resources in Texas. The AP report states that most new Border Patrol Academy graduates are being assigned to Texas.  Additionally, 115 agents from other Texas sectors and from Arizona and California are also being temporarily deployed to the Rio Grande Sector in Texas.

The Border Patrol is also moving technology assets to Texas. Drones equipped with high-powered cameras and blimp-like aerostats, tethered to busy positions along border crossing areas are also being re-deployed to Texas.

Since the beginning of this fiscal year in October, 2013, 148,000 arrests have been made in the Rio Grande Sector. The Tucson Sector in Arizona, formerly the illegal immigration hotspot, reported about 63,000 arrests during the same time period. The nearly eight-month total for the Rio Grande Sector is nearly the same as last year’s total for the entire twelve months.

"I don't think we have anywhere near the resources that we would require to even make a dent in what we've got going on here," Agent Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent in McAllen and local vice president of the agents' union, told the AP. "I think it's common knowledge that we don't have the resources, that's why they're coming in droves like they are. They're exploiting a weakness that they've found and quite frankly they're doing a good job of it."

This week a group of state Agriculture Commissioners from across the nation came to South Texas to see first-hand, the impact of this illegal immigration surge. Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner John McMillion told the AP in a report dated May 22nd, that he came to Texas with a strong belief that the border could be secured. “It’s such an overwhelming thing that I’m not sure we can totally secure the border, but a viable guest worker program would help with the whole situation,” McMillan said.

The Ag Commissioners were invited by Texas’ Ag Commissioner Todd Staples who has made Border Security a key component of this duties in this office. He said, after the most recent border tour, that a reformed guest worker program would substantially enhance border security “because then our law enforcement would have so fewer people to have to intercept.”

Deputy Sector Chief Raul Ortiz said his sector plans to increase manpower even more. "We do plan to bring on additional agents," Ortiz said. "Our plan is to certainly increase the staffing commensurate with the threat level down here."

One difference between the high number of arrests in the Tucson Sector and the Rio Grande Sector is the nationality of those being arrested. In the Tucson Sector, the overwhelming majority came from Mexico. In the Rio Grande Sector, Mexico finishes forth, following Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Breitbart Texas has reported extensively about the increase in numbers along the Texas/Mexico border. Most recently, Kristin Tate reported on May 18th that Lackland Air Force Base, near San Antonio, is preparing to convert dormitory facilities at the Air Force’s largest training facility to temporary housing for about 1,000 illegal immigrant minors who are traveling or being smuggled into the United States without parents or guardians. This writer also wrote on May 17th about the Secretary of Homeland Security declaring a “Level 4 Alert” for the Texas/Mexico border.

Widespread gang and cartel violence along with the lack of economic opportunity in Mexico and Central America are leading causes of the illegal immigration migration through South Texas into the United States, according to the AP report listed above.

Follow Bob Price on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX

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