DHS: Border detentions up 68 percent

MGN Online
Border patrol

Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014 10:25 pm
By LAURA B. MARTINEZ The Brownsville Herald

BROWNSVILLE — The number of apprehensions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector appears to be skyrocketing, even as President Barack Obama tries to find a way to act without Congress to ease deportations.

As of Friday, about 80,000 undocumented immigrants had been apprehended since October 2013, the start of the fiscal year, in the RGV sector that runs from Brownsville to Corpus Christi. This is about a 68 percent increase compared to the same reporting period last year, the sector’s spokesman Daniel Tirado said.

The 80,000 undocumented immigrants apprehended included Mexican nationals and “other than Mexicans,” or OTMs, from Honduras, Guatamala and El Salvador.

This past weekend and farther north, Border Patrol agents apprehended 12 undocumented immigrants near Encino Ranch 10 miles west of Armstrong, according to court documents. They were from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and Ecuador.

Tirado said the raids of stash houses and increased apprehensions is a result of cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, the community reporting suspicious activity to lawmen and an increase in the number of agents in the RGV Sector.

Authorities said more than 3,000 agents are stationed in the RGV Sector, the largest number the agency has ever had here.

In the past two weeks, more than 200 undocumented immigrants had been found in stash houses in the Valley, most of them in the upper Valley.

Tirado said most stash houses are found around Weslaco and farther west. He added he could not speculate about this matter.

In the previous fiscal year, more than 154,000 immigrants were detained, reports state. With seven more months remaining in fiscal year 2014, RGV Sector officials aren’t sure of the year’s final count, Tirado said.

Meanwhile, Republicans have warned Obama that if he tries to bypass Congress on the deportation issue it could hurt chances of overhauling the nation’s immigration laws, The Associated Press reported.

Obama’s allies have requested that he find a way to slow deportations. According to the AP, nearly 2 million people have been deported from the United States under the Obama administration.

The president and congressional Democrats have pushed for a sweeping immigration bill that would, among other things, create a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally who don’t pose a threat to national security or public safety.

A Senate bill passed last year called for 20,000 additional Border Patrol agents, the completion of an additional 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the deployment of high-tech devices such as drones to increase surveillance.

Republicans have objected to allowing immigrants gain citizenship before the border is secured.