EAGLE PASS, Texas — Smugglers are bringing a steady flow of migrants. The two children in the video were brought across the Rio Grande by foot guides in Piedras Negras, less than a mile from the Eagle Pass Port of Entry on March 30. As the girls were being interviewed, smugglers could be heard whistling and telling them to leave the area.
A few days before Breitbart Texas conducted the interview, a 9-year-old Guatemalan child drowned in the same area despite efforts by Border Patrol to provide lifesaving care. The Rio Grande changes depth dramatically in various locations but the current is swift most of the year. Although Breitbart Texas journalists witnessed the smugglers bringing the children across the river before the interview, the older girl adamantly denies they were smuggled.
The sheer number of migrant crossings is a cash cow for cartels who control access to the Rio Grande. They collect fees from relatives in the United States using wire services and hold the migrants as collateral. Most migrants will not speak of the smuggling arrangements for fear of the cartels.
The Del Rio Sector, which covers Eagle Pass, apprehended more than 800 illegal immigrants the same day the girls were filmed. The daily average for March 2020 arrests within the Del Rio Sector was 85, an 800 percent increase this year.
On the same day these two children entered illegally, Health and Human Services (HHS) reported more than 18,000 unaccompanied migrant children were already in federal custody. They were just two of the 579 unaccompanied migrant children arrested by the Border Patrol that day.
The humanitarian needs of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing the border has impacted the Border Patrol’s ability to conduct routine duties. Migrant family units and unaccompanied children usually cross the border illegally and wait for agents to take them into custody. Single adults, who do not qualify for immediate release into the United States, cross in a more surreptitious fashion to avoid detection.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.