Rockings, rammings, shootings and fist fights are all part of the gig for a border patrol agent, especially without the necessary resources, like a wall and technology.
As the president threatens a government shutdown in order to get money from Congress for a border wall, more people are getting violent along the Texas-Mexico border to get into the United States.
According to Homeland Security’s inspector general, assaults on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents reached a decade high last year.
Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol sector Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr. said of the 2000 miles of border with Mexico and nine border patrol sectors, the RGV sector is by far the busiest. Border patrol agents apprehend way more people than most law enforcement in the country.
He said 41 percent of all the apprehensions were made along the southwest border, as well as 44 percent of all the marijuana that is seized.
"And, the reason that's important is because when you have high levels of activity and you do not have the required wall, the technology and the agents to be able to secure a given area, you have some specific statistics that are inherent to a border that I call a chaotic environment," said Padilla.
He said the activity is closely related to assaults on agents. This fiscal year, there were 89 assaults on agents.
Padilla said some assaults are extensive and vicious--broken cranial bones, while others are just fist fights.
Last week, a 16-and 17-year-old were trying to smuggle 1,200 pounds of marijuana into the US.
“They intentionally ran into a border patrol vehicle, trying to ram the vehicle, trying to get it out of the way,” said Padilla. “We’ve actually had one of our boat agents be shot at from Mexico and ricocheted into the back of his head.”
The RGV sector also has had more than 150,000 apprehensions this fiscal year alone, including narcotics offenders, criminals and MS-13 gang members, who have a tendency to be violent.
Padilla's concerned about the increase of MS-13 gang members, who tend to be a direct threat to the community, as well.
More than 400 juveniles this fiscal year have been arrested for smuggling people or drugs.
The criminal organizations are using juveniles as smugglers because they believe they won't be prosecuted. Padilla admits it's hard to prosecute youth federally, unless there's significant exigent circumstances like assault on an officer. So, they have had to resort to prosecuting them through the state.
Some cases don't get prosecuted, unless for other crimes. The federal government will prosecute for: illegal entry into US, assault on a federal officer; smuggling and re-entry after deportation.
Tarleton State University’s School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies Executive Director Dr. Alex del Carmen said for the past few months, there's been a growing instability in the Central American region because the Ortega regime killed more than 400 innocents in Nicaragua, making people become more desperate to cross into the US.
He said they’re more dangerous, more armed and posing a greater resistance to US border agents.
“There’s going to be this mindset of ‘I’m going to cross the border and get to a safe haven, regardless of what I need to do’,” said Del Carmen.
He said since many are political refugees, the US government should help stabilize their countries and demand the Ortega regime to neutralize and become a democracy, so the influx won't be as severe.
“We probably need better technology and we also need to arm our U.S. border agents with better equipment and training,” said Del Carmen.
He added the smugglers charging an arm and a leg are the true criminals.
Seasonally, the illegal immigrants trying to get in the US dip in June and July and rebound in August.