Rio Grande Valley police department assists border officials with influx of migrant crossings

In February, border officials say they had apprehended more than 16,000 family units crossing into the country

PENITAS, Texas – The increase in migrant crossings has kept U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector busy and in need of additional help from local law enforcement agencies.

Oscar Barron, an investigator with the Penitas Police Department, said that the total number of people crossing into the country is rising every day.

“In one morning, a total of 75 people had crossed just this path alone,” Barron told KSAT. “Just one morning alone, I’m sure it’s in the hundreds per day.”

The Department of Public Safety, National Guard and area law enforcement officials have stepped in to assist border agents with migrants crossing into the country -- oftentimes scared, alone and malnourished.

Barron said Penitas -- 253 miles south of San Antonio -- is known for heavy migrant traffic. He said it takes only a matter of minutes of being on patrol before sighting dozens of migrants.

“Recently, within the past month and a few weeks, there’s been an increase in family units compared to what we regularly see,” Barron told KSAT. “We just wait for Border Patrol to arrive and they take over.”

In February, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials stated in a news release that agents had apprehended more than 16,000 family units.

On Thursday, a total of 36 migrants were apprehended within an hour during KSAT’s ride-along with the Penitas Police Department.

According to Barron, the family units do not pose a threat, as they usually are looking to be rescued from their treacherous journey into the country.

“When it comes to family units, you don’t see any resistance. You don’t see them evading or fleeing from us. They usually just turn themselves in,” Barron told KSAT.

Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are expected to arrive at the border later next week on a Senate Delegation tour.

Also on KSAT:

House passes immigration bills for farm workers, ‘Dreamers’

Republicans seize on immigration as border crossings surge

Del Rio leaders, activists say current immigration situation is ‘unsustainable’

About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.