From KRGV News (Texas)
The number of people crossing the border illegally is on the rise. The Border Patrol chief said the number of people coming across is consistent with the surge two years ago.
Chief Patrol Agent and Commander of the South Texas Corridor Manuel Padilla Jr. insisted this time, his agents are better prepared and border security isn’t in jeopardy.
However, some people don’t agree.
More than 80,000 people crossed the border illegally since October. It includes more unaccompanied children and family members from Central America and Mexico.
It’s about the same as during the immigration crisis of 2014.
But Padilla said this time, it’s different.
“So what happened in 2014, we had a surge but it became a crisis because we did not have the infrastructure and the processes to deal with those numbers. I can tell you 2016, even if we were to reach the numbers of 2014, it will not be a crisis,” Padilla said.
Numbers for Central Americans went up or stayed consistent. The number of Mexicans being apprehended by Border Patrol went down. Padilla said fewer Mexicans are crossing over.
“If you look at the demographics of Mexico, right now, the family units that we saw in Mexico when I was growing up, when you had families with 10 plus kids, that isn’t a common thing anymore. Now it’s two or three kids, so the economy in Mexico and here has some factors,” Padilla said.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS contacted Stratfor – an intelligence gathering agency based out of Austin – to compare data. Agency analyst Scott Stewart agreed the improving economy in Mexico might be discouraging Mexicans from making the treacherous trek to cross the border illegally.
“The flow is very, especially for Mexico, is very dependent on the economy. And we definitely saw that in the recession in 2007-2008. We saw reduction of Mexicans coming over just because there weren’t the jobs,” Stewart said.
Border Patrol Union President Chris Cabrera’s findings are different. He said Central Americans have found the way in and they’ll keep coming.
“Until we start enforcing the laws, they’re going to continue to exploit the loopholes in the system,” he said.
He said the people from Mexico crossing illegally aren’t being caught.
Cabrera said the struggle to secure the border will continue.
“What happens there is now you need to bring other agents, from other parts of the county to help transport these people, make sure they’re safe secure and get them into the station. While in doing that, you leave huge voids all across the area,” he said.
The impact will be felt by the more than 3,000 agents who serve in the Rio Grande Valley.
Padilla insists the border is secure and he can request additional agents for the area when needed. Cabrera said at least 1,500 more agents are needed in the area.