Large numbers of illegal aliens, unaccompanied children, and families are crossing the south Texas border with Mexico—but instead of running from the Border Patrol, they’re seeking out the first law enforcement officers they can find. A chief Border Patrol agent says the agency is “not a deterrent.”
Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Marlene Castro says it’s possible that Mexican drug cartels are tying up Border Patrol agents by flooding the region with people from Central America in need of help. “There’s always the opportunity for them to do that because of the women and children, the family units, and the unaccompanied minors coming across,” she notes.
The kids and families apparently serve as decoys while the cartels carry on their drug-smuggling and human-trafficking operations elsewhere. “In a lot of the cases, yes, that is a possibility,” Castro says, “and yes, that has happened.”
Castro says these families aren’t even trying to evade arrest. “They seek out Border Patrol. They look for us. They flag us down. They walk up to the vehicles and stuff,” she says. “So that’s what I meant when I said we’re not a deterrent. These people are looking for us. They’re presenting themselves to us and asking us for help.”
Castro clarifies that they’re still carrying out their border security operations to the best of their abilities. “We’re still running after people who are trying to evade arrest,” she says. “We’re still catching narcotics.”
There are reports that Mexican cartel factions are stockpiling grenade launchers and other weapons across the Texas border in the town of Piedras Negras. The weapons are reportedly for use in factional war within the cartel. Castro says she’s not aware of any such arsenal representing a threat on the Texas side of the border.