Monday, September 16, 2013
AZMEX I3-2 16-9-13
AZMEX I3-2 16 SEP 2013
Note: Seldom get a story like this from the Tucson & Yuma sectors. Almost never pick up any IA's?
In McAllen, storm doesn't stop illegal immigration
This photo provided by a Border Patrol agent shows two men being hosed down Monday morning at the McAllen Station.
Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013 4:37 pm
Dave Hendricks | The Monitor
Posted on September 16, 2013
by Dave Hendricks
McALLEN — Stormy weather didn't deter immigrants from illegally crossing the Rio Grande on Sunday, keeping local Border Patrol agents busy overnight.
By 6 a.m. Monday, local Border Patrol agents had detained about 500 people at the McAllen Station, said spokesman Enrique Mendiola. Agents classified nearly 350 people as "OTMs" — other than Mexicans, typically immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — who required additional processing.
Concerned about overcrowding and inadequate resources for processing the immigrants, especially people covered with mud, local agents provided The Monitor with a photo documenting the problem. The photo shows agents hosing down a muddy, shirtless immigrant who's kneeling on a metal grate.
"We're not a long-term holding facility, so we're not equipped with showers," Mendiola said. "And when you have somebody who came in off the river like that and they're obviously covered with mud, the best we can do is provide what we have."
Shown the photo, Mendiola said Border Patrol had started looking for the two men and would inquire about what happened.
"If they are OTM — and based on the numbers they probably are — once they get processed and transferred to long-term detention, the first thing they'll get is a hot shower and a fresh set of clothes, as part of the intake process," Mendiola said.
More immigrants illegally enter the United States through the Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley Sector than any other. The McAllen Station's area of responsibility, which roughly covers the western half of Hidalgo County, ranks among the hottest spots.
A local agent, who wouldn't speak for attribution, said the McAllen Station was built to hold a maximum 247 people, about half the number detained Monday morning. Mendiola said he couldn't confirm that number and didn't know the McAllen Station's capacity.
The Rio Grande Valley Sector's union, National Border Patrol Council Local 3307, and rank-and-file agents have warned about overcrowding at the McAllen Station for months. When the McAllen Station doesn't have enough holding space, agents occasionally move immigrants to what's called the "sally port." It's basically a gated garage.