EAGLE PASS, Texas — Border Patrol agents in the Del Rio Sector say they are seeing a massive influx of migrants, many coming in large groups of 100 or more.
The area around Eagle Pass the hot spot for crossings, surpassing the Rio Grande Valley for migrant crossings in the last few weeks, according to Border Patrol officials.
Over the weekend, the USBP Del Rio Sector Chief Jason Owens said agents encountered 3,431 migrants, and over 600 migrants who eluded authorities.
Owens said the sector is seeing record numbers. Since Oct 1, 2021, Owens said agents have encountered over 340,000 migrants, more than the last nine years combined.
“This is a this is not normal traffic for the Del Rio Sector. It's something that this Sector has never seen before,” said Owens.
Daily encounters growing with groups over 300 and last week two groups over 500, as agents scramble to manage the influx.
“Not since the Haitian migration in September have we seen those type of daily numbers,” said Owens. “We don't have the organic resources available to us right now to deal with the flow that we're seeing.”
Owens said other sectors in Texas are stepping in to help process migrants. One flight a day transports migrants to the Rio Grande Valley for processing, while buses transport migrants to Laredo for processing.
Other migrants are processed at a new soft-sided facility in Eagle Pass, doubling the capacity of the prior facility at over 1,000 migrants.
Owens said the first day the new facility opened, capacity was already nearing 3,000 migrants.
Agents have been deployed from the northern border to expediate the processing. Owens said the migrants are not housed at the facility longer than 3 days.
“This is this is an all hands on deck effort that is nationwide trying to address this crisis,” said Owens.
According to recent data from Customs and Border Protection, agents encountered 207,416 migrants across the southwest border in June.
More than 50 percent of the single adult encountered were deported under Title 42 where 27 percent of all family units were deployed under Title 42.
Owens said the journey for migrants is becoming too dangerous, reporting over 170 migrant fatalities across the Sector in the last nine months.
“That's drownings, as well as people that have been locked in containers, as well as people that have succumbed to the elements out in the desert,” said Owens.
Owens said there’s efforts to send a message to the home countries of future migrants, a message he said he won’t give up trying to send.
“It is just too dangerous. It is not worth it to bring your children in the hands of smugglers across a dangerous river, through treacherous desert, put in the back of a semi-trailer where these criminals don't care what happens to you on the hope that you're going to get to where you need to be,” said Owens. “The American dream is real. It exists for everybody. Do it the right way. Don't risk your life.”