Recently released data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection reveals that FY 2017 saw a dramatic increase of 847 assaults against Customs and Border Patrol agents and officers compared to 585 in the previous year – an increase of 44.8 percent.
The statistics underscore the importance of keeping law enforcement personnel working along the U.S.- Mexico border safe, particularly after the Nov. 18 death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez in West Texas. Martinez was found in a concrete culvert known to be used by illegal aliens and cross-border criminals. Martinez suffered extensive head trauma causing his death. His partner – who also suffered injuries during the incident – survived. It remains unclear at this time whether the death of agent Martinez was the result of the growing violence against law enforcement personnel along the border. The FBI has increased the reward for information in the death of Martinez, offering $50,000. The State of Texas is also offering a $20,000 reward for information.
Earlier this week the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector also announced that an agent was assaulted while arresting an illegal alien trying to cross the border in Nogales, Arizona. According to officials, a 25-year-old Mexican man was scaling the border fence and kicked the agent in the head multiple times while the agent tried to arrest him. The agent was evaluated at a local hospital for injuries after successfully taking the man into custody who will be charged with assault by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made prosecuting criminal aliens who attack Customs and Border Patrol agents and officers a top priority for the Department of Justice. “I have directed that all 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices make the prosecution of assault on federal law enforcement officers… a top priority,” Sessions said in April. “If someone dares assault one of our folks in the line of duty, they will do federal time for it.”