US Border Patrol Reports 136 Percent Surge in Migrant Entries Via Remote, Wild Section of Frontier
18:57 GMT 09.12.2021 (Updated: 19:04 GMT 09.12.2021)
US Customs and Border Patrol encountered over 164,000 individuals in October, a 128 percent increase from the same month last year, with the total number of encounters for fiscal year 2021 topping 1.7 million – surpassing the record set back in 1986.
CBP officials have reported a 136 percent surge in migrant encounters in the Big Bend Sector – a dangerous 832 km stretch of the US border with Mexico in western Texas with little water, cold and windy winters and hot and dry summers.
Jose Aleman, a border patrol agent at the Van Horn border outpost, has served with CBP for over two decades, and said migrants are attempting to pour through the harsh terrain despite its unforgiving nature.
“What they’re trying to do is get to these open flat areas, make it through all these open flat areas all the way to this interstate [Interstate 10] without being seen and then coordinating with a smuggler to pick them up…get picked up and transported further eastbound,” Aleman told Fox News, referring to the 4,000 km highway running along the southern United States from California to Florida.
“You’re talking about maybe 10, 12 days to make it to that location. Again, you can only carry so much water,” Aleman said, commenting on the dangerous nature of the trek.
“What we’re experiencing right now is unprecedented for the Big Bend Sector,” CBP deputy chief patrol agent Matthew Roggow told the channel, referring to the dramatic jump in entry attempts through the sector in recent months. “To the migrants who are thinking about crossing in the Big Bend region, don’t do it. It’s not worth your life,” Roggow urged.
Agent Aleman said the recently built equipment, including border surveillance towers, have not only served to pinpoint illegal crossings and human smuggling, but to rescue some of those who have crossed, “because some of these folks that are out here are abandoned” and “out here by themselves.”
The new equipment is said to include 20 rescue beacons through which disoriented migrants can call for help, with 7 of them operational and 13 more planned.
The US frontier with Mexico has witnessed a dramatic surge in border-crossing attempts by migrants from Mexico and Central America, with the jump blamed on President Joe Biden’s decision to rescind the hard-line immigration restrictions implemented by his predecessor, and on his administration’s confusing messaging promising a possible “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants already living in the United States.
This week, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced plans to deploy the state’s National Guard along the border area and coordinate with CBP in an attempt to address the crisis. “Mr. President, do something – do anything,” Ducey urged, speaking to reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.
8 December 2021, 20:52 GMT
Along with the migrant crisis, the border problem has contributed to a spike in drug smuggling and violence. In October, US media reported that CBP seizures of the pain medication Fentanyl had shot up by thousands of percent in recent years, from just two pounds seized in 2012-2013 to over 7,200 pounds in the first month of 2021, with just 2 milligrams of the drugs enough to kill a person.