As Senators in Washington D.C. prepare to roll out a new immigration reform package, promising border security before amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States, Texas Border Patrol officials and border watch groups are seeing an uptick in illegal foot traffic similar to the scene in Arizona over the past few months.
"When I hear Janet Napolitano say the border is secure, I just laugh because she has no idea what we go through on daily basis," a Border Patrol agent stationed near Laredo, Texas tells Townhall. "Now with Washington coming back and saying we're going to have you use less equipment and more furloughs and on top of that we're going to stretch your shifts, there's no way we can ever secure the border."
Although the decision to furlough agents and cut manpower on the border is being reconsidered, a final decision has not been made. At this point, upper management has given themselves a pay raise while agents working the border scramble to stretch resources as illegal immigrants take advantage of the security lapse.
"I don't want to throw my supervisors under the bus but they're pressured to skew the recorded apprehension numbers.... Our apprehension numbers are up 33% from the previous year. Assaults on agents are also on the highest rate ever witnessed and are climbing," the agent said. "Washington isn't making it easier for us that's for sure."
Currently, there are 13,000 more police officers working in New York City than there are Border Patrol agents working the 2,000 mile stretch of land with Mexico between California and Texas. Recently, Washington politicians and agency heads, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, have stated an immigration deal should not be contingent on a secure border, often claiming the border can never been fully secured.
"I believe we can [secure the border] and we've done a hell of a job with what we have...with just a little bit extra, we can do a lot better," the agent said. "The technology is great but there's no substitution for agents on the ground. Simply put, camera sensors can hit and we'll know groups are there but nothing can get done without agents and Washington just doesn't understand that."
Texas Border Volunteers [TBV], a group operating 70 miles north of the Rio Grande in Falfurrias, has also seen an increase in illegal activity on private ranches in recent months.
"For the calendar year of 2012 the Texas Border Volunteers reported 232 illegal aliens and Border Patrol was able to apprehend 126 of those reported. For a 10 day period in March 2013, TBV reported 240 illegal aliens and, with some assistance from our members in the field, 182 were taken into custody by Border Patrol. By any measurable or subjective standard the fact that we were as productive during one 10 day watch as we were for CY 2012 is nothing short of astonishing. We operate on private ranches, and cover no more than a few square miles during each nights posting. These numbers clearly demonstrate the border is neither secure nor under control," a Texas Border Volunteers press release states. "With this kind of influx of illegal aliens, it is unconscionable that our government would cut hours, staff and resources of the brave men and women of the US Border Patrol."