Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector continue to be overwhelmed by the numbers of illegal border crossers, they say. The sector continues to lead the nation in Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), Family Unit Aliens (FMUA), and total apprehensions.
“A wall for this sector is necessary and needs to happen now,” Border Patrol Agent Chris Cabrera told Breitbart Texas in an interview. Cabrera spoke to Breitbart Texas in his capacity as vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307. “Walls will take time to build but there are things we need to do now, in the interim, to improve border security in this sector.”
“We are seeing huge numbers this year,” Agent Cabrera stated. “The numbers in February were much higher than the same month in the previous two years.”
In February, agents in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector apprehended 9,603 illegal immigrants, according to information obtained by Breitbart Texas from U.S. Customs and Border Protection sources. These arrests include the apprehension of 1,387 unaccompanied minors and 3,222 partial families.
During the first six months of this fiscal year (which began on October 1, 2017), CBP reports indicate that RGV Sector agents apprehended more than 52,000 illegal immigrants. Of those, agents arrested more than 7,000 UACs and at least 20,000 FMUAs.
“We have the buildings to handle the influx of these people,” Cabrera explained, “but we don’t have the manpower. The influx is causing agents to be taken off the front line to assist with processing the families and unaccompanied minors. This leads to gaps in security and not enough agents to back each other up in the field.”
Cabrera outlined the consequences.
“This leads to lawsuits against the agency for overcrowding and not being able to meet court-imposed processing deadlines,” he continued. “It also creates an agent safety issue when we don’t have enough agents on the line to provide backup.”
Border Patrol agents are frequently assaulted while on duty, Breitbart Texas reported. During the first six months of Fiscal Year 2018, CBP indicated that illegal aliens assaulted more than 230 agents.
Cabrera said there is not enough court capacity in the RGV Sector to provide timely hearings for migrants in detention.
“President Trump hired a lot of new immigration judges,” he explained. “But, we are not seeing enough of them assigned to this sector to make a difference.”
The overwhelming numbers of migrants crossing the border and the lack of manpower, infrastructure support, and technology also lead to safety issues for the migrants themselves, he stated.
“We are seeing a lot of deaths this year,” Cabrera said. “Most of them have occurred in Brooks County, but we have also recovered drowning victims in or near the [Rio Grande].” Brooks County is located about 80 miles north of the Texas-Mexico Border.
Nearly 20 migrants died this calendar year in the RGV Sector–the largest number in the nation. Of those, Border Patrol agents and Brooks County Sheriff’s Office deputies recovered at least 14.
Cabrera said most of the migrants arrested after crossing the border from Mexico come from Central America. CBP statistics show that Guatemala heads up the list this fiscal year with 8,814 UACs and 16,421 FMUAs. This is followed by migrants from Honduras, Mexico, and El Salvador.
Cabrera said they also see large numbers of Chinese nationals apprehended along the border and at inland checkpoints.
Breitbart Texas Editor-in-Chief Brandon Darby shocked many in June 2014 when he published leaked images of unaccompanied minors warehoused in the RGV Sector in overcrowded and unhealthy conditions. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of UACs and FMUAs have crossed the border illegally into South Texas.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, GAB, and Facebook.
(Disclosure: Breitbart Texas sponsored the Green Line podcast for the NBPC in an effort to provide a platform for agents to inform the public about the realities on the border and what Border Patrol agents face. Director Brandon Darby received an award from the Laredo chapter of the NBPC for his work in helping to defend and bring a voice to Border Patrol agents. Breitbart News assisted in covering funeral costs for a slain Border Patrol agent previously.)