Border Patrol agents in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley told Business Insider they encounter migrants daily who have endured horrific crime and hardship on their journeys to the United States.
Business Insider joined the agents for a ride-along on Monday. Though we didn’t see any arrests, the agents said a typical shift often results in multiple encounters with migrants and smugglers.
The sector that Seiler and his colleagues patrol has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks — it’s the epicenter of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” border crackdown.
MCALLEN, TEXAS — Every day, Border Patrol agent Chris Seiler says he hears astonishing stories of hardship from the people he arrests crossing the US-Mexico border.
“It’s part of the job,” he said.
Border Patrol agents brought Business Insider on a six-hour ride-along on Monday in the heart of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings along the entire US-Mexico border.
It was a quiet shift with no arrests, but the agents emphasized they usually have multiple encounters with migrants, smugglers, or both.
The Rio Grande Valley has the highest number of Border Patrol arrests along the entire US-Mexico border. In fiscal year 2017, the area accounted for a whopping 45% of all Border Patrol apprehensions.
Many of the migrants who cross the border in the valley have been traveling through Mexico for days or weeks, and have endured horrific conditions. Seiler, the special agent in charge of the Rio Grande Valley Sector’s special operations detachment, ticked off a list of common stories he’s heard.
“Non-potable water, zero to no food, sexual abuse, raping, robbing, pillaging,” he said, adding that the smugglers who guide the migrants have little concern for their welfare. “Anything [smugglers] want to do, they can.”
Seiler said he feels bad for many of the victims he encounters — especially those who have been raped or abused — but they have to arrest the migrants regardless. And since most of the crimes they hear of take place back in Mexico, there’s little they can do to find the perpetrators.
“You see these people come across, and they live very tough lives,” he said. “But our job, the execution of our duties, is to keep you safe.”
‘The guy’s a ghost’
Seiler said agents do take note of any information they can regarding crimes against migrants, and they pass it to their counterparts in Mexico. But it’s often a dead end.
Further complicating the investigations …read more
Source:: Business Insider