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Increase seen in criminal immigrants caught in Valley sector

Sometimes immigrants cross the border to reunite with family, but other times, criminals cross into the Unites States illegally.

"Many times, there TMs family reunification or they are looking for some economic prosperity, but there TMs also that group of individual is coming across to do harm to the citizens here in this country, or they are here to steal, rob and commit other criminal acts, said U.S. Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Sector Spokesman Omar Zamora. So, our job is to arrest them, to identify them, and prosecute them.

Just after midnight on Tuesday, Border Patrol agents out of McAllen apprehended a Mexican man who had previously been arrested by the Donna Police Department and convicted of attempted murder.

"Oftentimes, they may come here, and we may deport them, and within three to four months, a year or two or three, they may come back. So those databases we have will quickly tell us if they have been previously deported, and at that point, we'll prosecute them accordingly," Zamora said, This year we TMre at 4,500 criminal immigrants or aliens that we have arrested. Last year, the same time frame or year to date, we were at 6,000 (criminal immigrants) so we've seen about a 1,500 decrease."

The numbers do show a downward trend, and it is keep in mind that those with a criminal history only make up a tiny percentage of the overall apprehensions. However, over the last three years, the likelihood or probability of an agent encountering a criminal has grown.

Action 4 News crunched the numbers and found that in 2013, fewer than 2.5% of Rio Grande Valley apprehensions were criminals, had gang-related ties, or were sex offenders. In 2014, that percentage grew to just over 3%. In 2015, just over 4.5% of those apprehended by RGV sector agents had a criminal background, were gang members, or were known sex offenders.

"The criminal aliens that I TMm talking about can range anywhere from a hit-and-run, DWI, assault and all the way up to and including murder," Zamora said.

So how concerned should we be?

"It is a concern, but I mean it TMs like a 3.9-percent, so isn TMt something we need to go way overboard with," said Efrian Tafolla.

"It TMs kind of scary, but I know law enforcement is working out there as hard as they can with all the criminals and immigration. There TMs so many problems down here," said Andrea Rocha.

U.S. Border Patrol explains that it TMs hard to pinpoint one specific reason for these types of trends as it could be attributed to many factors.

One thing is for sure, for every criminal apprehended, that TMs one less criminal roaming the streets.

"We have increased boots on the ground; we have increased technology with the aerostats and some other ray towers that we have as well. So what we would say is that we have more agents on the ground. We're making more apprehensions; we're identifying these individuals " making the community safer," said Zamora.

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