Border Patrol has lots of agents — in wrong places
SAN DIEGO — The downcast faces on computer screens are 1,500 miles away in a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas: a 20-year-old Honduran woman arrested rafting across the Rio Grande and a 23-year-old man caught under similar circumstances.
Four agents wearing headsets reel through a list of personal questions, spending up to an hour on each adult and longer on children. On an average day, hundreds of migrants are questioned on camera by agents in San Diego and other stations on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The long-distance interviews — introduced last year in El Paso, Texas, and extended to California — are a response to the dramatic increase of Central Americans crossing the border in Texas that has flooded immigration facilities with hundreds of women and children. The Border Patrol does not have the staff to process all the immigrants crossing in the Rio Grande Valley, but faraway colleagues have time to spare.
The remote video processing reveals a perpetual predicament that has long bedeviled the Border Patrol. Many agents wind up stationed in places where crossing activity is slowest because the Border Patrol struggles to keep up with constantly shifting migration patterns.
One example of the staffing mismatch: The approximately 2,500 agents in the San Diego sector arrested 97 immigrants illegally crossing the border on June 14, according to an internal document reviewed by The Associated Press. On the same day, about 3,200 agents in the Rio Grande Valley made 1,422 arrests.
President Obama will ask Congress for more than $2 billion to respond to the flood of immigrants illegally entering the country through the Rio Grande Valley and for powers to deal with returning, unaccompanied children, a White House official said.
A letter will be sent to Congress on Monday, said the official, who was not authorized to speak by name and discussed the requests on condition of anonymity. The amount and how it will be spent will be decided when Congress returns from recess on July 7. Whether any funds will go toward border staffing is unknown.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Texas, Oklahoma residents urged to flee flooding
- Harvey Girls recognized for role in history of West
- Michigan woman marks 116th birthday
- Clinton Foundation reports as much as $26.4M in previously undisclosed payments
- Senate foils phone spies in close vote
- Veterans frustrated by GOP presidential debate on Iraq War
- Why FedEx truck slammed into bus in Calif. in fatal crash still unknown year later
- Congress passes short-term fix for highways program
- Pipeline didn’t have shut-off valve
- Police kill suspect in fatal shootings of Missouri woman, son
- Coal’s worst fears affirmed in analysis of Obama climate plan