MCALLEN, TX – Twelve minutes into a “ride-along” with the Texas Department of Public Safety on an early morning shift, a group of migrants was seen hiding in the brush, after swimming across the Rio Grande.
Lieutenant Chris Olivarez with Texas DPS said the migrants making this journey are putting their lives at risk.
“The number of deaths that have taken place because of this crisis and the amount of immigrants that have lost their lives, is a record number that we have never seen before” Lt. Olivarez said.
Less than 10 minutes later, a second group was seen on camera and later caught. Lt. Olivarez said it’s not even clear how many migrants are coming across.
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“It’s kind of hard to put a number on it because there’s so many people that are coming across. And, there are those individuals that come across that don’t set off any cameras” Lt. Olivarez said.
He said those that aren’t detected on camera are referred to as “got-aways,” or migrants crossing illegally, who agents can’t catch.
“Last fiscal year there was almost 400,000 got-aways for fiscal year ’21.. Fiscal year ’22, over 600,000. That’s almost a million known got-aways,” Lt. Olivarez said.
Local law enforcement said the migrant crisis is affecting border-towns, like Hidalgo County. Sheriff Eddie Guerra said last week, his office rescued 84 migrants from a tractor trailer transporting them to a “stash house.”
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“As the sheriff, we have to respond to those bodies that are reported on our side. It really ties up a lot of the resources” Sheriff Guerra said.
Sheriff Guerra says he’s asking for more secure borders and a change in policy.
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“We all agree that there needs to be a pathway of citizenship for these people that are trying to come into the U.S. And make a better life for themselves,” Sheriff Guerra said.
He also said criminal organizations are profiting more than ever from migrants paying them for help with their illegal crossings.