The Mercury News reports that illegal border crossings have gone back up.
Large groups of Central American migrants have been taken into custody in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas in recent weeks, according to Border Patrol agents, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss operations. During one 24-hour span in May, 434 migrants were processed at the Border Patrol station in McAllen, agents said.
“The numbers have been very high,” said one agent assigned to the Rio Grande Valley, the nation’s busiest corridor for illegal migration. “It’s to the point that we have had to bring in buses to come out and load these folks up, or send four of five vans at a time.”
Another agent said so many migrants were apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley in May that many were diverted to other sections of the border for processing. The Justice Department has reassigned additional prosecutors to the border region to increase the number of migrants it charges with federal crimes, but one veteran border agent said it was “too early to tell” if the tougher enforcement measures were giving pause to migrants thinking of making the journey from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
This has prompted tough talk from DHS Secretary Nielsen.
During a visit Thursday to the Nogales border crossing in southern Arizona, Nielsen called the increase in illegal migration a crisis and said Homeland Security officials were working to “end this lawlessness.”
The country’s borders are being violated “by criminals, by smugglers and by thousands of people who have absolutely no respect for our laws,” she said.
“This is changing, it will change, and we will do all that we can to change this,” Nielsen added, emphasizing that the “zero-tolerance” approach announced in April will be applied as aggressively as possible.
“If you come here illegally, whether you’re single, whether you have a family, whether you’re a smuggler or whether you’re a trafficker, you’ve broken the law, so we’re prosecuting,” she said.
Statistics like the ones reported in this story make it more likely that a wall will be built on the border. We’ve seen that government is now trying a zero tolerance policy, and the Border Patrol has received additional aid from other agencies such as the National Guard and the Park Police. Still, the federal government has not been able to control the border. Therefore the push for some sort of physical barrier will get stronger.