Border Patrol chief welcomes additional agents
EDINBURG — U.S. Border Patrol Sector Chief Manuel Padilla said they are adding 150 more agents to address the end of the calendar year spike in illegal crossings they have been seeing across the Rio Grande Valley.
The agents from the Tucson, San Diego, and Del Rio sectors arrived here Monday and will begin screening, classifying and helping to process the record number of family units and unaccompanied minors coming across the Rio Grande as soon as today, according to border patrol spokeswoman Marlene Castro.
Most of the illegal crossers are migrating from Central America’s Northern Triangle, which includes El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and are seeking asylum, according to a statement last month from Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.
“Border security alone cannot overcome the powerful push factors of poverty and violence that exist in Central America,” Johnson stated. “Walls alone cannot prevent illegal migration. Ultimately, the solution is long-term investment in Central America to address the underlying push factors in the region.”
Padilla said he could not attribute a rise in apprehensions at the southern border to the recent presidential election because they had a similar increase at the end of 2015 or the beginning of their previous fiscal year (October 2015 to September 2016), according to Castro.
October, November and December were the busiest months for the Border Patrol in 2015. December topped the year with 37,014 total apprehensions across the southwest border and this year the agency is seeing a similar upward trend.
Apprehensions have been on the rise since August when U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported 37,048 total apprehensions up from 33,723 in July. The latest numbers available as of Monday afternoon were for September with 39,501 apprehensions, a number which has not been recorded for the month of September since 2008 when apprehensions were nearly twice what they are today, according to CBP data.