'Wasn't Like This Four Years Ago': Local Law Enforcement Feeling the Brunt of Surge at the Border

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Posted: Mar 25, 2021 8:00 AM

RIO GRANDE VALLEY — The Hidalgo County Constables (HCC) provided an increasingly rare view to reporters on Wednesday by providing ride alongs to the U.S.-Mexico border amid the ongoing surge in illegal crossings. The Constables office is one of the only law enforcement agencies in the area allowing reporters to document what is happening as the U.S. Border Patrol has been put under a "gag order" by the Biden administration.

The constables have been trying to fill in the gaps in areas where Border Patrol normally operates along the Rio Grande River but many have since been pulled to help process the large number of illegal immigrants turning themselves in. This is a tactic used by the cartels, in this case the Gulf Cartel, since it means there is a greater chance for their people to cross and not be caught if they do not want to be caught.

The constables started their shift and within 20 minutes a call went over the radio that a large group of illegal immigrants who had just crossed the river was found. The constable I was with raced down the winding dirt roads. We came upon the scene and, at first, some of the immigrants started to run away, but came back once the constables assured them they were in a safe area. We started to get a count, along with writing down their gender, country of origin, and age.

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

While their information was being written down, about 50 yards away, more illegal aliens were showing up as smugglers in a raft were going back and forth from the United States and Mexico. Within 30 minutes of being near the drop-off points by the river, 62 immigrants had turned themselves in to the HCC, with more arriving seemingly every other minute. For the three and a half hours we were with the HCC's, we counted around 145 people had crossed and headed towards the Border Patrol processing site.

 All of us, constables and media members, then had to leave the area because Border Patrol was coming down to where we were, which struck as odd to the constables since Border Patrol usually does not go there because they are busy processing people. We were told their sudden interest was most likely because the HCC's had brought us, the press, with them.

According to an analysis piece from the Washington Post, there is no "migrant 'surge'" and the numbers U.S. Customs and Border Protection has released are the seasonal bump that occurs when winter ends and spring arrives. The constables don't see it that way.

"Come and see it for yourself. Get out here and experience it. There is a surge," one constable said, adding the illegal traffic flow they are experiencing today "wasn't like this four years ago."

It's because of the early season surge, the HCC's have been taken away from their regular duties to assist with Border Patrol.

Though the ride-along eventually ended, the illegal crossings did not. In La Joya, Texas, around 345 illegal immigrants gave themselves up to a mix of the city's police, Texas Highway Patrol, and Border Patrol in the span of about three and a half hours. At least one man, carrying a young child, admitted to having COVID-19.

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

It was a constant game of catch-up for the mix of law enforcement officers for while they would be taking down the migrants' personal information, more would come out of the woods. Though it was dark, you could tell another group was coming, sometimes as big as 50 people, by the sounds of coughing, crying, and branches snapping. The officers used their flashlights to try to find groups hiding among the thick brush.

The increase in illegal border crossings comes as U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has insisted the southern border is "not open" and "secure," while admitting  the country is "on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years."