Posted: May 28, 2014 6:38 PM
Updated: Jul 2, 2014 7:51 AM
McALLEN - Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector are calling for authorities to do something about the increase in illegal border crossings.
The agents said they want relief from an overwhelming number of illegal immigrants clogging the Border Patrol station in McAllen.
Border Patrol officials said they will install portable buildings at the station to relieve overcrowding. The agents say that is not enough.
The sector is experiencing a massive influx of illegal immigrants from countries other than Mexico.
"It's just going to continue to climb, and climb and climb. For some reason, the word is out in their home country, and they're coming in droves," said Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307.
The union is concerned about the health of their agents.
"Obviously, the scabies ... there are a lot of bacterial infections our agents have gotten recently," Cabrera said.
"When these guys are getting tied up processing these insane numbers of illegal immigrants coming in, it's preventing them from doing their jobs of being on the frontline and protecting the nation's borders," Cabrera said.
The McAllen Border Patrol station is at the heart of the problem. The station is only meant to accommodate 459 people. There are currently more than 1,000 illegal immigrants at the site.
The city of McAllen fire marshal is working with Border Patrol to get the occupancy in the station down to code.
"They're talking about three to four portable buildings. They're (also) shuffling busloads to Laredo and El Paso," McAllen Fire Marshal Juan Salinas said.
The portable structures will be sent to the Valley from Arizona.
The city is expediting the permit process.
Cabrera says that's not enough.
"Something needs to be done," he said.
"If we're continually doing the exact same thing we've been doing, and we're expecting different results, we're just spinning our wheels," he said.
"People need to realize what's going on down here. I'm fairly certain people have no idea of the number of people we're releasing into the country," Cabrera said.