Large groups of illegal aliens continue to overwhelm U.S. Border Patrol agents along the Mexico/South Texas Border.
Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch said for the past four weeks, the RGV Sector is averaging 1,000 apprehensions a day.
Monday Rio Grande City agents encountered 110 people from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala; A few hours later in Roma, 98 people from Central America were apprehended.
Tuesday McAllen agents encountered a group of 158 people in Penitas and 105 people near Abram from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador and Nicaragua.
That same day, McAllen agents patrolling the river levee near Mission encountered a third group of more than 100 people consisting of family units and unaccompanied children. In total, agents took 123 people into custody.
In total, the Rio Grande Valley Sector apprehended almost 1,700 illegal aliens Tuesday, the highest single day total of apprehensions since 2014. At its current rate, the RGV Sector will surpass 2014 apprehensions during the last mass migration influx.
More than 300,000 apprehensions have been conducted in this fiscal year, in the RGV Sector over 130,000 apprehensions. Last year the RGV Sector had 162,000 people apprehensions.
“We projecting that we will be at 260,000 apprehensions easily, this year,” Karisch said. “One hundred percent increase across the entire border and we're seeing that here.”
Primarily 69 percent of the people being apprehended are from Central America, families and children. But that does not take away apprehending people from other countries like Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, Egypt and Iraq.
The increase in illegal aliens has taken away from the border security mission, which focuses on drugs and criminal aliens.
Currently resources for the RGV Sector are overwhelmed and outstretched. Because of this, they are doing direct release of family units with children from their facilities.
“We have been forced to do that because of the incapacity of ICE and HHS to actually take these people from us,” Karisch said. “Our facilities were not built for this, they are short term facilities and our people are doing the best they possibly can.”
The summer months are also a concern for Karisch. There is a percentage of the RGV Sector workforce dedicated to processing the hospital watch and transportation. The rescue season still looms, the National Guard is now assisting the Border Patrol and assistance is being used from agents from the ports of entry.
Karisch said Congress needs to change policy and update legal framework. Right now there are people exploiting immigration laws by coming across and claiming a credible fear or asylum.
“We got to have a sense of a consequence being delivered for that illegal activity and it is imperative that congress helps us with policy,” he said.
Right now Karisch is looking at all possible solutions for the influx of people coming to the United States. Those solutions include the Catholic Charities from the Rio Grande Valley and the Salvation Army. But at some point in time, the Border Patrol might be forced to release people on the streets of Brownsville and McAllen.
A tent city is an option but at the end of the day it boils down to funding.
“We have used an enormous amount of funding just addressing the situation we have here,” Karisch said. “It is having to ask for additional funds to look at other options.”
In the late 90s, there was a similar problem with Brazilians and a tent city was erected, more judges were brought in, as well as adjudication officers. But once an individual was determined was ineligible for relief, they were immediately repatriated to their country.
“That is what needs to happen this time around,” Karisch said.