Border Patrol warns about criminals crossing into New Mexico
June 18, 2019 05:23 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Violent criminals and convicted felons continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, according to officials with Customs and Border Protection.
Agents told KOB 4 they detain about 1,000 immigrants a day in the El Paso sector which oversees all of New Mexico. Not all of them are seeking asylum.
"Sexual offenders, murderers, people with active warrants throughout the United States and they try to conceal themselves within the group,” said Border Patrol agent George Gomez.
In May, agents along the southern border detained more than 130,000 immigrants including families and unaccompanied children.
“Initially, when we started seeing this influx several months ago… their narrative was they were here to seek asylum. Now that narrative is no longer true,” said Gomez.
“Upon initial contact with these family groups they will tell you their reason for coming to the U.S. is to get a piece of the American apple pie, if you will,” he added.
The state’s Republican Party said the best thing to do is to secure the border.
"We've got a crisis on our southern border,” said Yvette Herrell, a former state lawmaker.
“It is not a democratic problem or Republican problem. It is an American problem,” she said.
She hopes to challenge Democrat U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in 2020.
Torres Small represents southern New Mexico and has sponsored legislation to increase the number of agents along the border.
She also wants to make sure asylum seekers are being taken care of if they do cross.
“We have to respond to the crisis on the border when it comes to making sure people who are voluntarily presenting are in safe conditions, to make sure that we're keeping our Border Patrol agents and customs officers safe as well and we're not taking our eye off the ball when it comes to drugs and human traffickers," Torres Small said.
Back in March, the increase of immigrants at the border forced Border Patrol to close all of its highway checkpoints and move its agents to the southern border.
“In this area here – we’re lucky if we have two agents. Even our Border Patrol checkpoints have been closed due to the strain of these illegal immigrants coming in,” said Gomez.
“So it’s pulled all of our resources that we’ve had as far as enforcement to the care and custody of all these individuals,” he added.
Updated: June 18, 2019 05:23 PM
Created: June 18, 2019 04:02 PM
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