Last month alone, Border Patrol agents encountered 30,773 illegal immigrants trying to enter the country through the Del Rio sector, officials said.
“For us to be surpassing or being even remotely close to the numbers [the Rio Grande Valley is] getting, it’s just — it’s just crazy,” Jon Anfinsen, a Border Patrol agent who is union president of the National Border Patrol Council’s Del Rio chapter, told the Washington Examiner.
“At the moment, though, our sector is busier or at least as busy as the Rio Grande Valley, which has never happened before,” he said.
For years, the Rio Grand Valley sector in South Texas was the most trafficked area of the southern border, in large part because it is the easiest part of the border to cross. However, border wall construction during the Trump administration helped secure the Rio Grande Valley region, which is why many illegal immigrants are traveling through Del Rio instead.
“Texas is going to have to find a way to actually deter people from coming across and actually send people back, something states have not been doing. The time is now past. You have a historic situation,” Texas state Rep. Matt Schaefer said.
The ethnicity of illegal immigrants trying to cross through Del Rio has also changed slightly, border officials said. Smugglers are mostly choosing migrants from Haiti, West Africa, Cuba, or Venezuela, Anfinsen said.
“The cartels decide where everybody goes, and we’re just left to react to it,” he said.
The Del Rio sector became national news last year when tens of thousands of Haitian migrants surged through the region trying to gain access to the country. Border Patrol agents tried to prevent migrants from crossing the border, and were then falsely accused of “whipping” people by the Biden administration.