POSTED: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 5:22pm
UPDATED: Friday, June 28, 2013 - 8:41am
HIDALGO COUNTY, TEXAS (KVEO NEWS CENTER 23) — The Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley is seeing more activity than any other U.S. Border Sector. It's fighting a battle watching its pocket book.
"A big concern here has been the budget issues," said Border Patrol spokesperson Enrique Mendiola. "CBP as a whole took a $600 million hit. And obviously that $600 million hit is going to impact everybody within CBP."
The national immigration policy is being refocused on the border, and agents no longer have to pick and choose between getting equipment for the field and driving less to conserve fuel.
The Rio Grande Valley sector of the Border Patrol will also see an additional 400 agents joining its ranks. The infusion of money and manpower is coming at the right time.
In the last week, agents have encountered thousands of pounds of drugs and hundreds of undocumented immigrants trying to enter the country.
The area's 100,000 apprehensions now leads the country, overtaking the Tucson, AZ sector that has held the top rank for almost two decades.
"We've been very busy here, the Rio Grande Valley is one of the busiest sectors in the country," Mendiola said. "We're nowhere near the 250,000 mark we had in 1995-1996 when we were hitting the quarter million mark just here in the Rio Grande Valley."
The Border Patrol may have the toughest job of any law enforcement group in the area. It asks that media never show the faces of agents. The agents and canines that serve are under constant attack from desperate individuals.
Now, agents say they have the restored resources they need to do their jobs.
"At the end of the day, this is money that we can put toward the operation so that we can continue patrolling the borders without being under the fiscal constraints that we were under," Mendiola said.