Border Patrol ride along: El Paso Sector to set record for apprehensions


EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – As a record number of migrants continue to pour across the southern border, agents in the El Paso sector say they see upwards of 600 illegally cross each day, making it one of the busiest sectors along the U.S. Mexico border.

KTSM was given exclusive access to a Border Patrol shift joining agents at the tail end of the midnight shift. We were able to witness first hand the amount of activity agents see on a daily basis.

Moments after hopping in a Border Patrol unit, the radio lit up with migrant sightings. Four separate calls came in with in a matter of minutes.

The first stop we made, eleven migrants were detained. Some said they came from Mexico others from Ecuador and Honduras.

According to Agent Fidel Baca, the El Paso sector is on pace to break a record high for apprehensions, adding, “For the fiscal year 2021 we already have 176,000 apprehensions and we still have one month left.”

It’s a team effort to track and apprehend, Baca said. Each scene can be different, with agents riding on ATVs, helicopters hovering overhead with spotlights shining down in search of migrants and agents on the ground moving through the rough terrain, following tracks that lead them to illegal crossers.

Border Patrol says that they see many migrants return to the United States numerous times and it’s not uncommon to see the same person try to make it across five or more times.

“They’re going to keep trying to come over until they make it.”

Agent Baca also said that Border Patrol is starting to see hardened criminals that they haven’t seen in decades who think that if they get caught, they’ll be sent back to Mexico under Title 42. But, he says, that isn’t the case.

“I know what they’ve been convicted of,” he said. “They will be prosecuted for illegal reentry and they will serve time in jail.”

It’s not the criminals they’re able to catch that worries Baca — its the ones that are able to make it in.

“What if they make it? Probably a lot of them did. That’s what we don’t know, who has made it in and what they have done,” Baca said. “That’s what worries me.”

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The mission of is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.