Border Patrol agents in Texas keep detaining thousands of migrants every day

Border Patrol agents detain over a dozen people suspected of illegally crossing into the United States and found hiding in a “stash house,” a vacant, under-construction home in the town of Mission, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border, July 13, 2021.

MCALLEN, Texas – In the pre-dawn darkness, Border Patrol Agent Jesse Moreno slowed his SUV and raked the beam of his flashlight across a stretch of flooded scrub, searching for any signs of life: flattened grass, a slight rustle, a sneaker.

Voices crackled in hushed whispers over his radio, as more agents searched from the other side of the brush. Signaled by another agent over the radio, Moreno jumped from his white-and-green Border Patrol SUV and into the swampy marsh. He arrived just in time to see the agent cuffing a migrant. Two more crouched nearby in the murky, knee-high water, wet, filthy and swarmed by clouds of mosquitos.

One sprinted away but was quickly tackled and handcuffed by an agent. The other lay prone in the muck.

“íNo te muevas!” Moreno ordered. Don’t move.

The migrant froze.

Border Patrol Agent Jesse Moreno, right, helps fellow agents detain three men suspected of illegally crossing into the United States in the wetlands along the U.S.-Mexico border near Granjeno, Texas, July 13, 2021. The agents detained two men from Mexico and one from Honduras.
Border Patrol Agent Jesse Moreno, right, helps fellow agents detain three men suspected of illegally crossing into the United States in the wetlands along the U.S.-Mexico border near Granjeno, Texas, July 13, 2021. The agents detained two men from Mexico and one from Honduras.

The men – two from Mexico, one from Honduras – were just three of the more than 2,100 migrants that agents with the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector are encountering on average each day.

Across the southwest border, agents have encountered more than 1.2 million migrants this year and are on pace to surpass totals reached in 2000, when agents apprehended 1.7 million migrants, according to statistics released last week by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees Border Patrol. In the Rio Grande Valley Sector alone, agents have encountered more than 359,000 migrants — far more than any other sector along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Add to those numbers the ongoing threat of the coronavirus and new policies ordered by the administration of President Joe Biden and Border Patrol officials said they’re struggling to stem the flow.

Latin American economies gutted by COVID-19 and the hope that Biden will treat migrants more favorably than his predecessor are spurring the ever-increasing numbers of migrants at the border. In the Rio Grande Valley, that’s leading to more smuggling attempts, foot-crossings, stash houses and increases in nearly every category tracked by Border Patrol, Moreno said.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE BY Rick Jervis, USA TODAY

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