EXCLUSIVE: West Texas Border Sector Set to Break All-Time Apprehension Record

Uvalde Station Border Patrol agents apprehend a large group of migrants in May. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Del Rio Sector)
File Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Del Rio Sector

The Del Rio Border Patrol Sector has rarely been on the national radar for illegal immigrant apprehensions. Recently, an influx of Haitian, Venezuelan, and Central American migrants have pushed the sector to the third-highest rank for migrant apprehensions. With more than one quarter of the fiscal year remaining, the Del Rio Sector has now accounted for nearly 125,000 migrants put into custody.

The current number of apprehensions made by the Del Rio Sector is the highest in 20 years. The sector arrested more than 6,000 over the last seven days. If the pace continues, Del Rio will surpass any historical one-year record in its history.

Del Rio is in third place and slightly behind the Tucson Sector by only a few thousand migrants, according to CBP. At the current rate, Del Rio may sit only behind the Rio Grande Valley as the busiest area of the southwest border by the end of the reporting period.

At the Del Rio Station, where mostly Haitian and Venezuelan migrants have chosen to cross, the uptick in traffic is nearly a 1,000 percent jump over all of 2020’s figures. Recently, ICE Air Operations began flying Haitian and Venezuelan migrants to the interior of the United States to relieve overcrowding. The move also reduces the burden to the small community attempting to deal with large numbers of migrant releases.

Although the sector is receiving some support in the form of detailed Border Patrol agents from the northern border stations, the surge is still overwhelming. Processing and providing humanitarian care to the vulnerable population of migrants means less agents actually on patrol.

The traffic has frustrated residents and ranchers who are concerned about migrant releases and property damage caused by those looking to avoid apprehension. Local law enforcement agencies are encountering human traffickers on highways at a pace not seen in nearly two decades.

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.

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