‘We’re always on the lookout’: Border Patrol’s Del Rio sector chief discusses migrant crossings

Surge of migrants overwhelmed agency

EAGLE PASS, Texas – In December 2023, a field of green grass became a sea of silver thermal blankets.

Thousands of migrants who crossed into the U.S. waited to be processed by Border Patrol agents.

The surge overwhelmed the agency, which had to redirect resources to process the group.

“The Border Patrol has the first three days of detainees detention and to deal with the rest of the immigration continuum happens after us,” Danley said.

At the time, Danley had just been named to his post in the Del Rio sector.

“I got a phone call about 9:00 on a Monday night, and they, my boss, told me I needed to be here in the morning the next day,” Danley said.

He said the agents on boat patrol played a big role in handling the surge.

“When we had the large number of folks crossing, it was constant rescues,” he said. “Two, three a day some days.”

KSAT asked Danley what migrant crossing numbers look like now in his sector.

“So recently, we’ve been keeping the numbers down below 320 a day, on average, on a seven-day average,” he said.

“Why do you think that is?” asked Ibarra.

“Because we’ve instituted a program of implementing consequences for folks that are crossing the border illegally,” responded Danley. “My goal here is to make it as difficult as possible for the cartels and people that want to cross illegally in our area. I want to make it as difficult for them to do and to be successful. I want every one of them apprehended. So I’ll take whatever resources I can to get that number to zero.”

Despite the politics, Danley said agents are bound by law, which includes enforcing President Joe Biden’s executive order limiting the number of asylum seekers.

“I think that it complements what we started to do in late December,” he said. “It’s given us a few more tools to apply consequences. So I think it’s a good thing I think it’s still a little too soon to tell what the overall impact it’s going to have.”

“Do you expect to see a surge anytime soon?” asked Ibarra.

“We’re always on the lookout,” Danley said. “And in what we’ve seen over my career is that, when we have a policy change, the adversary, the cartels, are going to make adjustments.”

Danley said his sector partners with other sectors at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, adding that more eyes on the border is helpful.

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About the Authors

Daniela Ibarra joined the KSAT News team in July 2023. This isn’t her first time in the KSAT newsroom– the San Antonio native spent the summer of 2017 as an intern. Daniela is a proud Mean Green alum, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.

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