HIDALGO, Texas (Border Report) — Using patrols in the air and on the ground, border law enforcement agents continue to track migrants who are still coming daily from Mexico into South Texas with hopes of living in the United States.
Border Patrol agents log about 1,000 apprehensions per day in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, and those are just the migrants who are caught. Thousands cross daily, including many unaccompanied migrant youths. It’s part of an ongoing influx into South Texas that began when President Joe Biden took office.
As the sun was rising and a new day beginning early Tuesday, Border Report revisited several spots where migrants surrender to Border Patrol agents and again watched as agents apprehended several migrants, most from Central American countries.
Border Patrol agents are seen apprehending undocumented migrants early Tuesday, May 25, 2021 in Hidalgo, Texas, a mile from the international bridge leading to Reynosa, Mexico. In the lower-left photo, an aerostat is seen over La Joya, Texas, which helps agents patrol dense and rural areas. (Border Report Photos/Sandra Sanchez)
They were trying to cross into the border city of Hidalgo, Texas, a popular entry point just across the Rio Grande from the northern Mexican city of Reynosa.
This is the same small town where on Sunday night Border Patrol apprehended 206 migrants, including 35 unaccompanied youth and 164 family members who came from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Belize, Border Patrol said.
Orlando Yaxi, a 23-year-old from Guatemala was arrested for the fifth time on Tuesday.
He and two friends from his village spent three months traveling north and then paid a coyote, or smuggler, a total of $10,000 to help the trio cross the Rio Grande, he said just moments after he was arrested.
They were arrested less than a mile from the McAllen-Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge as a helicopter from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air & Marine Operations circled noisily above, keeping eyes on the spot where several agents had converged upon the group.
“It’s always the same struggle,” Yaxi said in Spanish from the back of a Border Patrol truck.
Beside him, a 33-year-old woman shook her head and put her hands over her face in distress. She did not want to give her name but said she has two children, ages 11 and 14, at home in Guatemala, and she was trying to come to work to send money to them.
“We don’t have any help, nothing for the children,” she said.
“We had nothing. We couldn’t afford to buy anything because of the pandemic and hurricanes,” said Yaxi, a construction worker with two small children in his home country.
Yaxi said each time he is apprehended he is taken back to the “puente” (bridge) and told to walk over it to Mexico.
Title 42 travel restrictions remain in place because of the coronavirus pandemic and that means that asylum-seekers are returned to Mexico, except for families traveling with very young children and unaccompanied migrant youth who are handed over to HHS officials.
When asked what would happen to him, he smiled and said “I guess we’ll go back. But I know God is watching.”
During his May 7 visit to the Rio Grande Valley to tour a CBP migrant processing facility, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas credited high apprehensions and a slight decrease in migrant youth trying to cross in April — down from a record-high in March — to an unprecedented “all-government approach” involving several agencies to help deter illegal crossings into the United States. Among agencies helping DHS officials are the FBI; Health and Human Services; and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“The plan will take time to execute and it will be difficult to do so but this is what we do: We do the difficult work. We know how to do it,” Mayorkas said.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com