The surge of illegal aliens arriving in south Texas during the summer of 2014 stunned law enforcement agencies and social service providers across the Rio Grande Valley. The numbers haven’t been as high in 2015, but some organizations are noticing a spike in the numbers of illegal aliens from El Salvador walking through their doors in recent months.
Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio GrandeValley, told the Brownsville Herald they have been seeing a significant increase in young mothers and children from El Salvador coming through the Immigrant Respite Center located downtown at Sacred Heart Church. Pimentel also said that she was also seeing a shift in the immigrants’ country of origin.
“Before there were more mothers from Honduras, but now it’s more from El Salvador than any other country,” said Pimentel. “They say the situation in El Salvador is becoming more dangerous, and there is more violence towards women, and I think that we are noticing the side effects of this here at the center.”
According to the Herald, the center hosted 1,314 during November 2014, which averages out to approximately 44 people per day. Pimentel said they are now seeing anywhere between 80-100 people coming through each day, and expects this year’s numbers for November to double from last year.
Two mothers mentioned in the story were apprehended by Border Patrol agents shortly after they were smuggled across the Rio Grande on November 30 near Reynosa, Mexico. They paid a human smuggler, known as a coyote, $12,000 to smuggle them, their children, and the fathers into the U.S. The fathers got separated from the group of immigrants in Mexico near Monterrey, and the women have not heard from them in over a week.
Approximately 90,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended along the southwest border—mostly in south Texas—in the summer of 2014, and law enforcement agencies have been hyperalert for a potential repeat of that surge this year. Numbers have spiked during certain months, but have not approached last year’s figures. The 2015 surge was blamed on a combination of gang violence and poverty in Central America, combined with rumors that US authorities were releasing mothers and children with permisos, or “free passes.” The violence and poverty have been persistent in Central America for many years, but the involvement of drug cartels in the human smuggling business has resulted in heavy marketing and propaganda efforts by coyotes working for the cartels.
Sylvia Longmire is a border security expert and Contributing Editor for Breitbart Texas. You can read more about cross-border issues in her latest book, Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer.