MISSION – In front of a packed house which consisted of community leaders, stakeholders, non-government organizations and law enforcement partners newly selected Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Rodolfo Karisch held a “State of the Border” event.

Karisch along with the leaders of the three sections of RGV sector provided updates on each of the regions and also the problems the Border Patrol sometimes face when trying to secure the border.

A top priority for Karisch is to not only meet stakeholders and other members of the community but educating them on what is going on in the Rio Grande Valley.

Karisch is in his third week of his new assignment. Previously, Karisch was the Chief Patrol Agent of the Tucson Sector. The 32-year veteran of the Border Patrol told his audience he knows the value of trade and travel and the economic prosperity it brings to the region but securing of the nation and its borders is paramount to the communities the Border Patrol serves.

“Discussion of border security should not be an either or proposition,” he said. “but one that incorporates technology, tactical infrastructure, access and mobility as well as personnel.”

Karisch knows there are sensitive lands near the border and seeking solutions while still providing border security will be difficult.

In fiscal year 19 there has been an 84 percent increase in apprehensions compared to last year up to this point. The RGV sector accounts for 38 percent of illegal immigration and 52 percent of all the marijuana that crosses into the United States. There has been individuals taken into custody from over 40 countries.

Karisch said it is essential to expand and seek additional resources to meet the objectives of the Border Patrol. They also have to utilize technologies that are available as well as collaborative intelligence capabilities.

Infrastructure projects underway will underway will create impedance of terrain currently exploited by criminal organizations. The projects are not limited to a border barrier but include creation of new roads and improvements that exist between access points that will allow improved mobility and increase response time for agents.

The current state of the border in South Texas is best described as one of opportunity.

Opportunities exist in many aspects throughout the region, within local municipality who recognize growth and insuring the liabilities for hundreds of thousands of residents living in our cities.

From an operational standpoint the RGV sector faces many challenges that are amplified by the lack of technology and infrastructure. In one of the busiest corridors of the country we continue to apprehend hundreds of individuals on a daily basis.

“Every 14 days here in the RGV, we have a mini caravan,” Karisch said. “If you look at the number of people we are taking into custody.”

Karisch admits the Border Patrol is fortunate that many of those people are headed to other destinations and not coming through the RGV Sector.

Under the direction of Kirsch the Border Patrol will meet all challenges head on, as they initiate a comprehensive approach to border security. While the approach will not be new or profound the basic principle will rely on partnerships.

Karisch recently returned from Washington D.C. where he noticed a lot of people weighing in on the border but most are not border security experts. Bottom line, there needs to be infrastructure to fill the gaps, more boat ramps and try to figure out the problem with the flow of Central Americans.

“At the end of the day if we could eliminate that problem,” he said. “We could truly concentrate on the drugs, the criminal aliens and the people we should be focusing on.”