The briefing was given by the local Border Patrol Community Liaison, who dispelled many myths people had taken as fact.
There are 21 Sections of Border Patrol in the US. The McAllen Station, that we're in, is comprised of 9 stations in our one section. The McAllen Station is the largest in the country for capturing illegals. It has roughly 650 agents in its station. Tucson is the largest station for capturing illegal drugs.
He noted that yesterday, over 600 illegals were caught in the McAllen area over the last 24 hours. Over 400 of these were family units and as usual, there were no drugs captured.
The top three countries of illegals in the U.S. are El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Most of those are family units fleeing for a better life.
The number of illegals captured in 2017: 137, 000
The number of illegals captured in 2018: 162,000
The Border Patrol is responsible for detaining and processing only. Claims of amnesty or other issues are confirmed by ICE or Immigration judges. Many refugees, who are released are given a summons by ICE to appear in front of an Immigration Judge.
The role of the National Guard: Most people are not aware that the National Guard has no detaining or arrest authority. Therefore, their roles are all support, from monitoring activity screens to feeding agents to cutting brush back. That is all they're allowed to do.
When it comes to smuggling, whether drugs or people, most are juveniles because the cartels know they're liable to get in less trouble than adults, although that mindset is changing in our law enforcement system.
Does the wall really lessen the influx of illegals? According to our presenter, it has its role in the grand scheme of capturing illegals, but here are a few facts to add: In the McAllen area, which is mostly river boundary, the wall doesn't sit on the border. Rather, it's set back, so agents still have to patrol in front of the wall. In addition, the Station has thousands of ladders sitting outside from illegals who simply climbed the wall.
What is the most effective method of capturing illegals? The trifecta of personnel, technology and resources. Technology, such as extremely sophisticated cameras, night vision goggles, "Blimps" and other resources are the most important weapon used to find illegals and detain them. Resources, such as helicopters and horses are also important. They can get where a truck can't get to. Of course, these resources wouln't be very effective without the trained personnel.
The Border Patrol is always hiring and its entry standards are very high. After an eleven-step process of being hired, which include polygraph and rigorous interviewing to see how the candidate stands up under pressure, the selected agents then spend six months at the Border Patrol Academy in New Mexico. Men and women have the same physical and mental standards. After the six month academy, many Border Patrol Agents move on to more extensive training, whether it's border crossing, K-9, horseback patrol, helicopter or intelligence.
The pay is generous and goes up quikcly in the first five years. Straight out of the Academy, an agent can expect to make roughly $50,000 annually. Within five years, this typically goes up to around $90,000. Our presenter, who is three years from retirement, makes about $115,000 annually.
Our presenter was very careful not to express any opinions, rather, sticking to facts. And my takeaway is that a wall is not enough to deter any illegals. Rather, it's that trifecta that makes a difference. And until ICE stops just issuing summons, the number of illegals won't go down.