Additional border patrol agents not enough to beat smugglers
Sat, 05 Apr 2014 04:47:11 GMT —
U.S. Border Patrol agents are on the forefront of the fight against human smuggling.
Right now there are more than 3,000 agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector but many say more are needed.
"It seems to be out of control," Agent Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, said. "We are seeing record numbers coming in droves."
Agent Cabrera said the recent addition of more than 100 agents is a relief.
"I think it's a good start but I don't think it's enough," he said. "I think the more we can get the better but I mean we will take what they can give us."
Adding agents is part of a "South Texas Campaign" to target criminal networks that smuggle humans and drugs through the Valley.
"As part of our national strategy to move resources and assets against the greatest threat and right now the Rio Grande Valley is that location," Acting Chief Raul Ortiz, Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Sector, said.
In 2013 border patrol apprehended more than 150,000 undocumented immigrants.
Only 4 months into 2014 the Valley is on track to more than double that number.
"Right now we are getting to the busiest point of apprehensions and we haven't even hit the peak," Cabrera said.
As the number of apprehensions goes up the tactics smugglers use evolve.
Agents report a catch and release tactic is on the rise.
Smugglers teach undocumented immigrants to simply walk up to federal agents and surrender knowing they'll be let go within hours.
"You're out there doing your job and it's not so much that you are catching them, they are catching you," Cabrera said.
The tactic in addition to overcrowded detention centers makes a heavy burden for agents on the ground.
"Are we winning the fight on human smuggling? If not what will it take?" Action 4's Nadia Galindo asked.
"I think we are certainly making progress," Chief Ortiz said. "I think the law enforcement approach we have against criminal organizations are they key to success."