HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As many are discussing the possible end date of Title 42, the border policy that allows the quick deportation of hundreds of thousands of migrants due to the pandemic, it’s business as usual at the border.
In fact, it is busier than it has been in a while. The Biden administration has kept in place the most sweeping border restriction enacted by former President Donald Trump causing mass deportations. Even with the risk of immediate deportation, thousands are still crossing every day.
The majority of the crossings are happening in the Rio Grande Valley.
Already this fiscal year over 200,000 migrants have crossed the border. This number does not include numbers for March and April as those have not been released by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
ValleyCentral spent the morning with Border Patrol agents and got a first-hand look at what exactly is happening on the border. Within minutes of the ride-along, agents were tracking different groups of migrants that were actively looking to evade apprehension.
It was raining and pitch-black outside in the early morning hours. None of that stopped smugglers from illegally crossing migrants across or agents from tracking them down.
“Rain or shine, we’re going to be out here patrolling,” said U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jesse Moreno.
In Mission, Texas several groups were found back-to-back trying to cross the border. The first of the bunch was a group of nine. Inside the group were eight men and one woman from the countries of Honduras, Mexico, and El Salvador.
ValleyCentral spoke to several in the group who confirmed this was not their first attempt.
Within minutes of apprehending that group, another call for help radioed in just down the road. Short-staffed, agents responded anyway. The group was hiding one on top of each other on the ground in the brush, trying to avoid being caught.
A sensor picked up their body heat and noticed what seemed to be many legs in the same area. Air and Marine Operations helicopter spotted the group laying inside the thick brush and alerted agents on the ground. Within minutes, the group of 11 was arrested. All of them were single adults.
“This morning, we have apprehended more single adults than anything else, I haven’t seen any children or family units crossing illegally,” said Moreno. In the group of 11, we spoke to one of the men from Mexico who told us he was ready to start a new life.
“This is my second time crossing,” the man said. “They had already caught me here in McAllen once before, but I found work cutting orange trees here in McAllen. I was just crossing over to do that.”
It’s likely that will never happen as Title 42 remains in place, allowing immediate deportation. Once May 23 arrives, it is unclear how the process will proceed as that is the current end date for Title 42. Throughout the ride-along in a span of several hours, not one undocumented unaccompanied child was seen by our cameras. 100% of the apprehensions seen were single adults.
ValleyCentral cameras also captured over a dozen wooden ladders tossed on the side of the border wall which agents say are used by smugglers to cross migrants.
“We want to remind those that are thinking of making the journey, the border is not open,” said Agent Moreno.
On Monday, several stash houses were dismantled in Roma, San Juan and Edinburg.
Inside of those stash houses were all single adults. The day before, four large groups of migrants were apprehended near La Grulla and Roma which totaled more than 750 apprehensions. U.S. Border Patrol Chief for the RGV Sector said the migrants were from Cuba, Central and South America and more than half were single adults.
Title 42 is scheduled to end on May 23 by the Biden Administration.
Several lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are trying to stop that from happening.
Governor Greg Abbott has continuously spoken out against the lifting of Title 42.
“Both Democrats and Republicans agree Biden has created a crisis at the southern border. Department of Homeland Security estimates that 5 million people will cross the border this year once Title 42 is removed. Texas will continue responding in full force to ensure our border is secure,” said Abbott, “President Biden refuses to come to the southern border to see the chaos he has created. So, we’re taking the border to him. Texas will be transporting illegal immigrants to the U.S. Capitol.”
Agents said they are ready to do their jobs regardless of what policy is in place.