Rio Grande Valley Sector sets new record for migrant apprehensions in FY 2021

AP Photo/Fernando Llano

The Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector is the epicenter of the Biden border crisis. During Fiscal Year 2021, a record number of migrant apprehensions were processed, a historically high number all along the southern border. The Rio Grande Valley Sector handled the largest increase in illegal migration.


If you watched the horror of the situation in Del Rio, Texas just a few weeks ago, this is not much of a surprise. Thousands of migrants, mostly Haitians, were housed under the International Bridge in the small city of Del Rio. The city was overwhelmed with the flood of migrants that just kept coming for a couple of weeks. They waded across the Rio Grande River and expected to be allowed to apply for asylum. Finally, when the situation garnered national news coverage, DHS had to move in and do something. FNC is the only cable news outlet to cover the Biden border crisis on a daily basis, The migrants were moved out and scattered across the country and the camp under the bridge was cleared.

The region captivated the nation and the world this past fiscal year as the epicenter for migrant crossings on the Southwest border as hundreds of thousands of migrants, mostly families and unaccompanied children, began crossing into South Texas after the Biden administration took office.

Fiscal 2021 totals, which were released on Friday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, showed the RGV agents encountered 549,077 migrants — a 508% increase from Fiscal 2020. The sector also had one-third of all encounters in Fiscal 2021 on the southern border, according to the CBP year-end figures.

“It’s the highest in decades since we’ve been keeping track,” Border Patrol Special Operations Supervisor Christian Alvarez said Wednesday.

“The RGV, we’ve led the nation for a couple years now as far as apprehensions, but there was a good increase across the Southwest border,” Alvarez said.


It gets tiresome hearing the same story – migrants travel to the southern border and find a way to cross over into Texas or Arizona, or another border state. Texas gets the majority of this problem, though. It is important that the Biden border crisis remains in the news because it is a threat to the entire country. The Biden administration prefers to treat it as a Texas problem and expects Texas officials to handle it but without enough resources and personnel, it is an impossible task. It is the federal government’s top responsibility to secure our borders and Joe Biden has deliberately allowed this crisis to grow.

Del Rio is in a separate sector from the Rio Grande Valley Sector but it is along the river. The migrants have found a way to move along the river and the border. Yuma, Arizona, for example, also is dealing with historic increases of apprehensions. This is not sustainable. The problem of increased illegal migration doesn’t stop in Texas, the migrants are being moved away from the border and to areas across the country. It is a problem for all states now. The people coming to the border often don’t even know exactly where they are going as they are at the mercy of coyotes or cartels.

Alvarez said crossings are dictated by criminal cartel organizations and human traffickers who decide when and where migrants cross, and how much they have to pay. Human traffickers favor bringing migrant families and unaccompanied children across the border in the Rio Grande Valley, officials say.

“These family units aren’t deciding where they’re going to go. Once they decide to take that trip and leave their home country, they’re placing their lives in the hands of smugglers who at that point will take them from their native countries of Central America and designate where they’re going to go, which stash house they’re going to be dropped off, what route they’re going to take and right now we’re seeing a lot of those families coming towards this part of the country,” Alvarez said.


The ones who are sent back often just try again. Many of the migrants apprehended are returning after being expelled. They are coming from around the world, not just the Northern Triangle countries that the Biden administration claims to be working with. In El Paso, the number of Ecuadorians apprehended was second only to Mexicans. A new caravan is coming up from Mexico, predicted to be here in about two weeks, and the people are mostly from Central and South America, though West Africans and others have been acknowledged to be in the caravan. This caravan is comprised of between 3,000 to 5,000 people. Another large group of migrants is coming through Panama and is said to be about 60,000 people.

The caravan that left Tapachula, Chiapas, on Saturday rested on Wednesday in the town of Huixtla, about 40 kilometers to the north. The Mexican government worked to detain the caravan when possible.

Many of the migrants were relieved to have a day to wash their clothes, phone home and eat something substantial. The town’s numerous grilled chicken shops proved a popular choice: the dish is a regional favorite. Once again, locals were curious to hear from the travelers and about the caravan.

With information hard to come by, rumors circulate constantly among the convoy, usually about the threat of being detained by officials from the National Immigration Institute (INM) or National Guard. The information gap is exacerbated by the scale of the caravan — about a kilometer long — which means that the experience at one end of the convoy is distinct to that at the other.

The migrants’ concerns are based on their distrust of authorities, which are built on solid foundations: many of them were interned in the prison-like “21st Century” migrant detention center in Tapachula, where they have no legal recourse, and instead have to wait — potentially for months — for their names to be read from a list for release. Also, the convoy itself has felt heavy-handed treatment: the response to the caravan leaving Tapachula on Saturday came from National Guard riot police attempting to block its path.


Governor Abbott is pro-actively securing some sections of the border. He is placing resources and personnel to show the border is being secured. The Biden administration rejected a plea for an emergency disaster declaration which would have freed up funds for border protection. Texas is on its own at this point. It’s the Biden administration’s job to protect the border yet they are AWOL.

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