Groups of women and children are showing up at the border in Laredo, Texas, and seeking out Border Patrol agents to turn themselves in. U.S. authorities are releasing them into Texas. The numbers and methods of the illegal entries are reminiscent of the beginnings of the 2014 border crisis, according to Border Patrol agent Hector Garza. He spoke to Breitbart Texas in his role as National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Local 2455 President.
“We are seeing five to ten groups per day and they usually consist of three to five individuals,” Agent Garza said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas. “This is a significant uptick and appears to be the beginning of an influx. They are mostly Honduran.”
Though both the numbers of groups and the numbers within the groups are often greater in the Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV), the fact that they are showing up in the Laredo Sector is significant, largely due to differences in the transnational criminal organizations that control immediately south of the two sectors–and that control the flow of narcotics and human smuggling within those sectors on U.S. soil.
The RGV Sector is controlled by various–often warring–factions of the Mexican Gulf cartel while the Laredo Sector is dominated by the Los Zetas. The Gulf cartel has exhibited a greater willingness to engage in practices that would inevitably damage their business interests in the long-term, as the border crisis of 2014 indicates. In that matter, the Gulf cartel allowed hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to illegally cross in their section of the border–knowing full well that it would lead to an increased law enforcement presence and hurt their ability to traffic narcotics across the border and through the sector in the following years. They chose the short-term gain over profit sustainability. Los Zetas, bitter rivals of the Gulf cartel, largely avoided allowing a massive influx through their territory. The 2014 border crisis was, for the most part, only occurring in the region controlled by the Gulf cartel.
The Gulf cartel began active recruitment of would-be illegal aliens throughout Mexico and Central America in the years prior to the border crisis. A 2013 report by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime detailed that some cartels were shifting to human smuggling to replace falling profits from narcotics smuggling. This shift came at a time when various factions of the Gulf cartel began infighting. The infighting appears to have led to decreased narco-profits and these decreased profits led the cartel to turn to human smuggling.
Los Zetas are now beginning to see increased levels of infighting and territory loss within Mexico, and perhaps consequently, the stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border under their control is beginning to see and influx in human smuggling. Though the mechanisms are shadowy, we know that Mexican cartels charge a fee for not only allowing migrants to enter the U.S. illegally through their territory, but for helping them enter and get into the U.S. interior. These cartels then continue to charge the now-illegal immigrants for many years to come. They take a percentage or a fee and threaten to kill or rape the illegal immigrants’ relatives in their home countries if the fee is not continuously paid.
Since the trumpeting of the border crisis of the summer of 2014, and the initial report of women and children beginning to show up again, each spike in such occurrences raises eyebrows as to whether a massive influx is beginning again. Both Agent Garza in this instance, and Border Patrol Agent Chris Cabrera, a vice president for the NBPC in the RGV Sector, in a previous interview with Breitbart Texas, made clear that the women and children showing up isn’t what denotes a coming wave, but how they show up.
When the people crossing illegally begin to seek out Border Patrol agents in efforts to turn themselves in, that indicates that a training to do so has taken place. The crossers know that they will be taken care of and ultimately released.
Follow Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby on Twitter: @brandondarby