Border Patrol agents arrested seven more Bangladeshi nationals this week after they illegally crossed the border from Mexico. The seven Bangladeshis bring this fiscal year’s total to 251 arrests in this single sector.
Agents assigned to patrol in south Laredo, Texas, encountered two separate groups of Bangladeshi nationals who had just illegally crossed the border from Mexico. The agents arrested seven Bangladeshis in the two incidents, according to Laredo Sector Border Patrol officials.
The Bangladeshi nationals used a channel of cartel-connected human smugglers to make their way from their home country to the U.S. Their journey takes them from Bangladesh to South America, where they begin their northward trek to Mexico and then to the U.S., Border Patrol officials told Breitbart Texas in recent interviews. The smugglers are allegedly paid up to $27,000 for each Bangladeshi, officials said.
On average, more than 30 Bangladeshi nationals were arrested each month since the fiscal year began on October 1. During the entire FY 2017, Laredo Sector agents arrested only 181 Bangladeshis, Acting Laredo Sector Chief Patrol Agent Jason Owens told Breitbart Texas in a recent interview. During FY 2016, there was only one arrested in the Laredo sector.
“When we talk about the different groups that are crossing into an area, what we’re trying to draw attention to is a more comprehensive look at our threat picture,” Owens explained. “We need to stay away from just focusing on the family units and Unaccompanied Alien Children that are coming from Central America and Mexico. What the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol are dealing with on a daily basis is so much more complex than that.”
“They are not trying to hide or escape,” the chief said about the Bangladeshis. “They walk right up to an agent and claim ‘credible fear.’”
Bangladesh has been described by many as a hotbed of terrorist activity. In March 2017, the British government issued a travel advisory for Bangladesh to its citizens warning of potential terror attacks. The warning cited several incidents of terrorist activity in the months leading up to the travel advisory’s issuance.
In 2016, CNN and The Economist spotlighted terrorist activity in Bangladesh. And, in February 2017, the Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change wrote, “Bangladesh is alternately heralded as a beacon of tolerance and secularism in the Muslim-majority world or a hotbed of Islamist militancy.”
U.S. Border Patrol Agent Hector Garza told Breitbart Texas in his capacity as president of the National Border Patrol Council 2455 that we do not know the intentions of these people who come to the U.S. from countries with ties to terrorism. “What we do know is that if the cartel-connected smugglers can bring people with good intentions across the border, they can also bring people with bad intentions.”
“We have been lucky to catch these groups but there is no telling how many other people from countries that sponsor terrorism could be utilizing that same pipeline,” Agent Garza stated.
In addition to the Bangladeshi nationals, Laredo Sector agents also arrested Syrian nationals after they illegally crossed the border in the same area, Breitbart Texas reported.
“Laredo is a prime target for these ruthless smugglers because of our sector’s shortage of manpower and the lack of a physical barrier,” Garza explained in an interview with Breitbart Texas on Thursday. “We have 170 miles of river border with Mexico. Not one mile of that border has a physical barrier. We are wide open for these drug and human smugglers.”
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.)