EAGLE PASS, Texas — Border Patrol agents on routine patrol were noticeably absent Tuesday. Agents say they were removed from regular duties and relegated exclusively to processing and caring for thousands of migrants detained at temporary holding facilities in the region.
A constant flow of migrants crossed the Rio Grande and searched for law enforcement authorities to surrender to this week. In the busiest migrant crossing areas around the city, authorities were largely absent. The options available to the migrants were Texas Army National Guard soldiers positioned along the riverbank and near common crossing points.
One plainclothes Highway Patrol Trooper assigned to the Texas DPS Criminal Investigative Branch supervised the surrender of some of the migrants crossing with the assistance of soldiers. Border Patrol agents tell Breitbart Texas they are lucky if they can field one marine unit and be able to transport the surrendering migrants.
A Department of Homeland Security source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, says the level of overcrowding in Border Patrol facilities is crippling the agency’s ability to respond to citizen calls and has left the border open.
The source says the absence of Border Patrol agents is also contributing to migrant deaths in the area. At least 10 drownings have been reported during the first two weeks of March.
As Breitbart witnessed Tuesday, migrants searched for shallow areas to cross the river and, on several occasions, were forced to turn back due to the swift currents.
One group of migrants told Breitbart Texas they were from Nicaragua and were searching for authorities. The migrants claimed to be fleeing violence in their home country.
The Border Patrol is still able to apply the emergency COVID-19 authority to citizens of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The source says the agency will soon suspend the order.
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.
Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.