Despite the mainstream media reporting that sending the National Guard to the Texas border was a waste of time, the Guard has been an integral part in stopping illegal immigration and illegal drugs from entering the U.S., supporters of the policy say.
Rio Grande Valley Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Alfredo Lozano said that since mid-June, the National Guard has helped catch nearly 11,000 illegal immigrants and deterred more than 3,000 people from entering the US, as well as seize 12,000 pounds of marijuana.
Lozano said the operational goals have been to raise situational awareness along the border. The National Guard has done on the ground and in the air--such as monitoring sensor feeds, cameras, fleet maintenance, vegetation clearings and radio communications Redeploy law enforcement agents back to the field to conduct frontline operations.
“The RGV (Rio Grande Valley) is one of nine southwest border sectors, so we patrol over 300 miles of border that also includes coastal. We’ve got nine different stations, two different checkpoints and National Guards are deployed to each and every station, which allows us to do surveillance capabilities,” Lozano tells Newsradio 740 KTRH. “We’re able to detect individuals, we’re able to deter individuals, we’re able to interdict individuals. Plainly stated, every task that the Guard assumes, will free up a Border Patrol agent to perform their primary mission along the border.”
The National Guard isn't allowed to arrest people.
Immigration attorney Eric Cedillo said it's difficult to quantify the numbers attributable to the National Guard because in April and May there's always an uptick in illegal entries due to the weather.
"June, July and August, it gets hotter and less people come over. But, the numbers probably would bear out that if you have more eyes on the ground, you got more national troops on the border that they'd be able to point these out for border protection," said Cedillo. "The more eyes the better, because they do save people on the border. There are people who are literally dying out there in the hot sun."
Cedillo says in April there were 38,000 apprehensions; May, 40,000; and June, 34,000.
He said in the past few weeks, he's seen more deportations and more people coming in seeking asylum.
Cedillo said the border isn't being overrun as net migration is down from previous years.
Lozano said the National Guard will remain on the Texas border through the end of the government's fiscal year, which is Sept. 30.