EAGLE PASS, Texas — In one group, nearly 400 migrants crossed the Rio Grande north of the city Thursday. The migrants crossed during the hottest part of the day as temperatures exceeded 100-degrees Fahrenheit. The group consisted of mostly single adult Cuban, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan migrants.
The group walked nearly one mile from the riverbank after being guided across by cartel smugglers. They surrendered to Border Patrol agents and were sorted by nationality in preparation for transfer to a nearby processing facility.
Several members of the group were unable to make the walk due to the excessive heat and were moved to a Border Patrol rally point. Mixed into the group were family units with small children. Breitbart Texas spoke to some who said they recently arrived at the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras and had been traveling to the United States for longer than two months.
The migrants say they were part of a caravan in southern Mexico that walked from Tapachula, Chiapas, near the Guatemalan border until receiving travel documents from the National Institute of Migration in Mexico. The travel documents allow the migrants a 30-day window to legally travel through Mexico to the northern border.
Eagle Pass, part of the Del Rio Sector, has become the hotspot for migrant crossings and currently leads all other border cities in migrant apprehensions. In a Thursday press conference addressing border safety issues, Del Rio Chief Patrol Agent Jason Owens told reporters the sector has apprehended more than 340,000 since October. He also voiced concern about the additional 140,000 who have eluded apprehension during the same time frame.
Ironically, as Owens spoke to reporters, the large group of migrants was already fording the Rio Grande only miles away.
The influx of large migrant groups has become commonplace in Eagle Pass. The task of providing transportation, medical assistance, and processing is straining Border Patrol resources at the expense of standard law enforcement functions. One agent told Breitbart Texas that the constant flow of migrants has nearly destroyed personnel morale.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.