Border Arrests on Record-Setting Pace in Rio Grande Valley



Apprehensions of illegal border crossers are on pace to top 240,000 in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) this year. On just one day, Feb. 27, Border Patrol agents arrested more than 1,300 people — a five-year record.

“A majority of the arrests are family units and unaccompanied children from Central and South America, which greatly impact the number of agents available to carry out the border security mission within the RGV Sector,” the Border Patrol reported, noting that the apprehensions represented roughly half of all detentions along the entire U.S. Mexico border.

The Rio Grande Valley surge comes as no surprise. From 2000-2014, arrests in the busy sector jumped 92 percent, hitting an annual average of 158,000. At the current rate, they will be up another 52 percent this year.

And these are just the arrest figures. No one knows how many more illegal aliens successfully evade capture in the sprawling region that spans 320 river miles, 250 coastal miles and 19 counties stretching over 17,000 square miles.  

Coyotes transporting Central American migrants know that the RGV is thousands of miles closer than California. The valley is fertile ground for human trafficking and drug smuggling because much of it lays adjacent to federally protected lands and wildlife refuges, creating access problems for agents.

President Donald Trump, who visited the Rio Grande Valley earlier this year, has made the area a top priority for border wall construction, and Congress last month agreed to fund 55 miles of barriers there. The new wall will be built on the western side of the sector, where officials say approximately 90 percent of arrests occur. There are55 miles of existing barrier on the eastern side.

This leaves hundreds of miles of the Rio Grande Valley unsecured, but that’s of no concern to the open-borders crowd and their political front-men. For Rep. Will Hurd, whose district includes a large swath of the RGV, it’s all rainbows and butterflies. The Texas Republican voted to block Trump’s emergency order for more wall funding, and branded the border crisis a “myth.”

A local lawman is similarly cavalier. Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra, in charge of policing the largest and most populous county in the valley, says local crime rates are at record lows, and that illegal immigration has little effect on public safety.

Apparently Sheriff Guerra doesn’t get out much. Four of Texas’s most dangerous cities are in Hidalgo County, and one, Donna, has the third highest violent crime rate in the Lone Star State. Can it be mere coincidence that these communities are in the well-trod path of human smugglers and drug traffickers?

“These local economies are built on dope and money laundering,” another South Texas sheriff told FAIR last month. A professor in Brownsville calls drug money “the WD-40 of the valley.”

Like the illegal alien arrest figures, illegal activity is surely understated because the porous border makes residents reluctant to report crimes. Fearing retaliation by violent cartels trafficking narcotics, illegal aliens and weapons, locals figure their survival depends on keeping their heads down and their mouths shut.

Meantime, the border surge continues apace in their midst.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

8 Comments

  1. avatar

    I couldn’t be more disappointed in Trump. Let’s face it, a wall at this point isn’t going to help. He needs to do something bolder. And now he’s calling for increased immigration. What has happened to the president we elected. Suspend the INA until we get a handle on this. Return all border crossers to their home country, just as we do with Mexican crossers. A wall would have helped if it was started 2 year ago, but now, not going to do much at all.

  2. avatar
    Yazmin Linares on

    Good GO ICE.
    NOW HOW ABOUT THE REAL CRISIS OUR HOMELESS YES OUR HOMELESS WHICH ISNT MENTIONED IN THE MEDIA AT ALL

  3. avatar

    Where are the border walls? My income tax return from last year was reduced way too low! The least you could do after taking our hard earned money is to secure izr borders!

  4. avatar

    Send the army. As many as it takes. Let’s see the courts try to stop it. The Posse Comitatus Act has nothing to do with it. That says that the armed forces cannot do ordinary police type duties within the interior of the country. Protecting the border from an invasion, armed or not, is the job of any army around the world. What is the difference between an armed invasion and an unarmed invasion in this situation? None. It’s still a takeover of American territory by citizens of another country who are encouraged to come here by their governments so they can send money home.

    The argument is that there is no emergency because if there was Congress would declare one. No, Congress is owned by corporations who want a never ending supply of cheap labor to the detriment of American citizens and the long term stability of this country. The president has the power to declare an emergency and if an out of control border is not an emergency, then what qualifies?

  5. avatar

    Dem’s are rolling out the Red Carpet for illegals with promises of protection from federal law enforcement and lots of Free Stuff! Sure, things may be tough South of the Border but we have millions of veterans, disabled, and drug-dependent Americans who need our help and the support of the “social safety net” that’s being strained to the limit. Any “liberal” who wants to lend a helping hand to a deserving fellow citizen need only contact one’s local food bank, homeless shelter, or criminal justice halfway house to locate someone in need of housing and employment. Charity Begins at Home!

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