The number of undocumented immigrants who have been apprehended or turned themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley has surpassed last year’s total, according to the agency.
But local immigration activist believe these statistics should be met with skepticism.
From fall of 2018 to spring 2019 the U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that more than 164,000 migrants were apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley compared to the entire 2018 fiscal year when 162,000 apprehensions were reported.
The 2019 total for the Rio Grande Valley includes 15,310 unaccompanied minors apprehended from October through March — compared to 23,760 during the entire 2018 fiscal year
“At times we also leverage state and local officials or officers in order to help secure the border as well,” said BP Agent Herman Rivera.
And although local immigration activists are skeptical about the data reported, they do agree that numbers are high due to a surge of migrants seeking asylum
“The increase is happening because we all of a sudden drastically decreased how we’re allowing people to come in through legal means,” said Michelle Serrano, with the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network.
The Border Patrol has reported similar increases along the entire southwest border, although the Rio Grande Valley Sector remains one of the busiest.
Last week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr ruled that some asylum seekers are generally ineligible for bonds and should remain in federal detention while their asylum cases are pending, a policy that will go into effect in about three months.