Border Patrol in West Texas Sees Increase in Unaccompanied Minors

Border Patrol in West Texas Sees Increase in Unaccompanied Minors

West Texas is no exception to the current immigration crisis. The Big Bend sector is currently seeing higher numbers of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border near Presidio, Texas.
West Texas is no exception to the current immigration crisis.

The Big Bend sector is currently seeing higher numbers of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border near Presidio, Texas.

“As far as the volume for here it's fairly new for us because we traditionally have not seen that South American, other than Mexican traffic,” said SBPA Rush Carter from the Border Patrol Big Bend Sector.

And in the case of Central American native, things are different.

“It can be a father, a mother with a child or their children and they enter the United States and basically come up to an agent or wait there for us to come by,” said Omar Morales, the Deputy Patrol Agent in Charge.

These immigrants are not trying to avoid border patrol or make it deep into the United States. They simply reach the border and surrender to an agent.

“We have seen quite a bit, or quite an increase you can say here in this area,” Morales said.

Many of the immigrants do not understand the U.S. law, Carter said. They come with the hope that getting to the border will allow them to stay and avoid deportation.

And because these immigrants are of Central American decent, border patrol agents cannot just return them to the Mexican side of the border. Instead, they have to be processed through a longer process.

“Somebody from another country the process is quite different,” Morales said. “We have to process them and then make the proper arrangements to get them back to their country.”

A process already backed up due to the increase of immigrants.

But that’s not all. Border Patrol agents must continue with their daily activities, which include immigration checkpoints, catching illegal crossings and preventing drugs from entering the country.

In the Presidio region, agents try to have a strong, visible presence.

“Just a matter of strategy, placing them in the right position to do their job right away,” Morales said.

They also rely on intelligence. The border patrol has daily meetings to collect and review sector data and use it to create daily strategies. They also depend on cameras and sensors that detect movement in the area. The sensors are a big part of their daily operation but the details of the sensors are kept secret to “protect their operations,” Carter said.

But Border Patrol also uses some of the oldest tactics: tracking.

“There is no other agencies that teach tracking on the regular basis and it's our bread and butter in the border patrol,” Carter said.

The agency trains its agents to become detailed-oriented, finding clues in even the smallest signs.

“Foot prints, that could be rollover rocks, kicked rocks, anything where there is a disturbance in an area that indicated that something has moved through that area recently,” Caret said.

But despite the tactics, the agency is constantly changing. Immigrants and drug cartels are constantly getting better at crossing the border, forcing border patrol to also increment their intelligence.

“Foot prints, that could be rollover rocks, kicked rocks, anything where there is a disturbance in an area that indicated that something has moved through that area recently,” Caret said.

But despite the tactics, the agency is constantly changing. Immigrants and drug cartels are constantly getting better at crossing the border, forcing border patrol to also increment their intelligence.

“As soon as we figure out one way, something is happening, there is going to be a new way that somebody is attempting to smuggle narcotics or people to elude us,” Carter said.

And today, agents continue to figure out ways to protect the 510 miles of border along the Big Bend Sector.

“We have to know our area,” Carter said. “We have to know where the activity is traditionally has been, where it's moving to, where it changes.”


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