Posted: Jul 8, 2014 6:47 PM
Updated: Jul 8, 2014 6:49 PM
EDINBURG - The influx of young illegal immigrants into the Rio Grande Valley has the phones at the 449th District Court ringing nonstop, officials said.
Judge Jesse Contreras said people from Central America call constantly asking for children who have crossed the border illegally.
Contreras said many of the cases in his court are teens accused of smuggling.
"There's been a steady increase for the past two years of that type of, I guess, force into smuggling of persons and drugs," Contreras said.
Contreras said his court now receives constant calls about those who are smuggled into the country.
"We're phone operators directing these family members to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)," Contreras said.
"(The calls) come from different area codes ... Dallas, Houston, San Antonio. Then you have some private numbers coming in, so I assume there are some from Central America or even Mexico," Contreras said.
Contreras said his office can only forward the callers to ICE and Border Patrol.
Contreras said the calls increased substantially during the past two weeks.
"There's definitely a big, strong concern over the whereabouts of these kids. At least we hear that in their voices," Contreras said.
The court will continue to field the calls while hearing scheduled cases. The judge hopes the federal government finds a solution.
Border Patrol officials said most of the children crossing the border are meeting family members in the United States.