The spokesperson for the U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV) told the Fox News Channel that her agents are not a deterrent to illegal border crossings in the current climate.
“We’re not a deterrent because they’re looking for us, so we can be standing there and [the smuggler will] still send them across,” Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Marlene Castro told Fox News Channel’s William La Jeunesse during a December interview. “It’s been a group, and then maybe five minutes later another group, and then half an hour later you’ll see another one.”
Castro is referring to the overwhelming numbers of illegal immigrants, Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), and Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) who cross the border and search out the first law enforcement official they can find. December numbers from U.S. Customs and Border Protections officials released last week revealed the number of FMUA apprehensions along the entire southwestern U.S.-Mexico border increased for the sixth straight month. 16,135 FMUAs were apprehended along the southwest border during the month of December 2016. The year-to-date numbers of FMUA apprehensions are up by 109 percent over the previous fiscal year’s apprehensions.
The numbers in Castro’s RGV Sector are even more shocking. During the first three months of FY 2017, 30,293 family units were apprehended, 10,862 in December alone. The FY 2016 first-quarter apprehensions were reported to be 14, 337. Nearly 75 percent of all FMUA apprehensions this fiscal year occurred in the RGV sector.
Children crossing the border illegally also represent a huge problem for the agents of the RGV Sector. December saw 4,751 apprehensions of UACs. This was about the same as November 2016’s 4,788 UAC apprehensions. Both months were dramatically higher than October when 4,085 UACs were apprehended in the RGV Sector.
Fox News reported the apprehension numbers are at a five-year high and that agents are slammed with work.
To respond to the surge of migrant border crossings, Border Patrol officials were forced to move agents from other front-line positions to help with the care of the minors being apprehended, along with the increasing FMUA apprehensions, Breitbart Texas reported in November.
Border Patrol officials in the RGV Sector announced that 150 agents were temporarily transferred from the Tucson, San Diego, and Del Rio Sectors to the McAllen and Weslaco Centralized Processing Centers. Their duty is to increase the screening and processing capacities for the migrants with a focus on UACs (unaccompanied Alien Children) and FMUAs (Family Unit Aliens), according to information obtained from Agent Castro by Breitbart Texas.
Several Border Patrol agents have expressed their frustration at being used as “babysitters” to Breitbart Texas. They stated that Mexican cartels have learned they can tie up Border Patrol agents by flooding a region with these children, mostly from Central America. They are then free to move their drug and other “higher value” human cargo through other locations.
Customs and Border Protection officials announced in December the opening of an additional holding facility for the seemingly endless flow of migrants, particularly unaccompanied children and incomplete family units. The facility will provide additional space for holding approximately 500 UACs and FMUAs. The new plant will be adjacent to the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge in Donna, Texas.
“Illicit networks facilitate the majority of cross-border activity and smugglers prey on migrants by extorting money, confining them in deplorable conditions, and often physically and sexually assaulting them,” Agent Castro wrote in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas on November 12. “Despite these risks, migrants continue to entrust their lives each day to these unscrupulous criminals.”
Health and Human Services (HHS) officials announced in December that they are overwhelmed with the flood of migrant children and families. To deal with the budgetary crisis, the department is stripping allocated funds from medical research and services originally marked for American citizens. During the last month before this announcement, an average of 255 UACs per day were placed in the custody of the ORR after being processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, according to the Center for Immigration Studies Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughn.
To temporarily deal with the costs, the department made drastic cuts to health services for American citizens. Now-former HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell directed that $167 million be cut from other programs to cover the costs of services for the minors through December 9 when the current continuing resolution expired, Vaughn wrote at the time.
The newly confirmed and sworn-in Department of Homeland Security Secretary, retired Marine Corps General John F. Kelly, will now be faced with finding a plan to deal with the border surge.