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.