PoliticsImmigration48 Hours on the Border


48 Hours on the Border: Ride along with Border Patrol

Watch as Scripps News Corpus Christi rides along with a Border Patrol agent, who finds multiple migrants trying to illegally cross the border.
Posted at 6:59 PM, Mar 14, 2024

Scouting the border is a 24/7 job for Border Patrol agents working to secure the South Texas line, even when their area isn't considered to be that busy.

In the Rio Grande Valley, border crossings have decreased this fiscal year. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, last fiscal year in January the number of crossings was at 14,913, compared to 7,340 this January, marking a 50% decrease.

But although there's a decrease in numbers, the area still sees its fair share of people attempting to cross into the country. 

"[The number] fluctuates a lot," said Agent Andres Garcia, public affairs specialist. "Most of the times, it's going to be sunset 'cause it's easier to conceal yourself at night."

Scripps News Corpus Christi went to the border to see firsthand what the situation is like.

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During the ride-along, agents were alerted to movement. 

In a matter of seconds, helicopters helped on-the-ground agents like Christina Smallwood locate two men hiding in the brush. Scripps News Corpus Christi asked to speak to the migrants, who the agents said were from Mexico, but they refused. 

Agents said they would gather further information about the men before transporting them to get processed at the McAllen border station, where their biometrics would be run. Then depending on their immigration and criminal history, the migrants would be processed accordingly.

"At times we do encounter suspects with a criminal history, and sometimes we will encounter those with an extensive immigration history," Smallwood said.

For some migrants, it's not their first time crossing into the United States. Some have crossed and have been deported in the past.

When leaving the scene, Scripps News Corpus Christi watched as agents spotted a guide getting immigrants across the border, also known as a "coyote." The individual ran from Border Patrol agents who went after him. A K-9 was called to help in the search, but after several minutes looking, they could not locate him.

As the ride-along ended, agents said their main goal is to protect the border.

This story was originally published by Javier Guerra at Scripps News Corpus Christi