Posted: Mar 22, 2013 7:08 PM
Updated: Mar 22, 2013 7:10 PM
McALLEN - Border Patrol officials say a surge in apprehensions of illegal immigrants is to blame for the current backlog at the Border Patrol station in McAllen.
An anonymous viewer sent CHANNEL 5 NEWS images of the overcrowded conditions at the facility. The processing area at the station is not designed to house immigrants, but the growing backlog forces agents to keep them at the facility longer than usual.
"First and foremost, when we catch these people we bring them into to the sally port. We are going to hold them there before taking them into the actual holding facility," Border Patrol Spokesman Henry Mendiola said.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS showed Mendiola the images and video sent by the anonymous source.
"Any time you have a surge of apprehensions, such as whatever day that was, it becomes a management problem for us," Mendiola said.
Mendiola confirmed that the flow of immigrants through the Rio Grande Valley has reached record numbers.
"We are continuing to see the increase," he said.
Mendiola said more agents will be deployed to the area.
"They still need field training ... its going to take a while," he said.
Mendiola said there is little risk of violence erupting at processing area.
"Our agents are well trained in dealing with groups such as this," he said.
Mendiola said the agents also are careful not to trample on the immigrants' human rights.
"At the end of the day, they are doing something wrong by being on our soil. But they are humans," Mendiola said.
"Smugglers deal with these people as cargo, we understand their needs. We will deal with them as quickly as we can and as humanely as we can, but sometimes it will take time," Mendiola said.