On Tuesday, Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco and his deputies helped Border Patrol agents search freight trains entering the rural Texas town. In what has become a local trend, more than 50 migrants were pulled from a train.
The Border Patrol faces staffing challenges due to the humanitarian care demands from the migrant influx. Manpower shortages make checking trains more challenging, considering the spike in migrants using rail to sidestep the asylum process.
Border Patrol reports more than 5,200 migrants have been found riding on the trains in Uvalde since October 2020, an increase of 900 percent compared to the previous year. Nearly 1,000 were discovered in July 2021 alone.
The staffing challenges could prove deadly for the migrants. Freight is notoriously unfriendly to stowaways. Accidents and fatalities can occur when migrants are struck, crushed by shifting cargo, suffocated, or overexposed.
Earlier this month, Sheriff Nolasco’s deputies responded to an incident at the rail siding involving an injured Honduran migrant. The man’s foot was caught and severed under the wheels as he attempted to jump from the moving train. The migrant was treated by EMS at the scene and later flown to a hospital in San Antonio for additional care.
Most of the migrants discovered on the Tuesday train boarded in nearby Eagle Pass. The Texas Department of Transportation notes that nearly 400,000 rail cars enter the United States each year from Mexico at Eagle Pass. Most cars will travel through Uvalde and absent a significant change in the flow of migrants crossing the border illegally, the situation along the rail line is unlikely to improve.
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.