Ranch Owner Sees Increase of Illegal Crossing Activity in Area

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RINCON — A landowner living near Rincon said illegal crossing activity has started to pick up in the area.

The landowner named Junior asked CHANNEL 5 NEWS not to use his last name. He said he makes it out to his family ranch at least twice a week. He likes to relax, target shoot and enjoy the nighttime scenery there.

Junior said sometimes he sees small groups of people walking through the rancher after crossing the Rio Grande River. That changed a few days ago when he saw a big crowd.

“When I do see a group, it ranges between five, 10, maybe 15,” Junior said. “But 10 days ago, when I saw 30, 40, almost 40, people, I knew something is coming up, it's changing. And it's not changing for the good.”

Junior said he worries this may be an indication of another surge of people crossing illegally, like the one in 2014.

 “I grew up here; I did my homework here. The school bus picked me up here. I feel right at home here,” he said. “These knuckleheads aren't going to scare me. I got a shot gun. I got a Winchester. I mean, I'm not going to shoot them unless they attack us, attack me.”

Junior said the people traveling in the big group minded their own business. He said he felt bad for a mother and a young child.

“You could tell the baby was in dire need of water,” he said. “A 10-month-old baby not responding and the temperature was about 95, 100 degrees. And I have a feeling that that's not going to be the first to come.”

Junior said more needs to be done to control the number of people entering the U.S. illegally. He said Mexico should take some of the responsibility. Central Americans crossing into the U.S. travel through Mexico to get here. 

“It’s putting us to shame. They're laughing at our rules, at our laws. They're laughing at us,” Junior said. “I don't mind them coming over here, but what I do mind is they make a mockery of our laws, our rules. We can't even go over there in Mexico and buy land. That's what ticks me off.”

Border Patrol officials said this may just be the beginning. They said they expect to see an increase in the number of those crossing the river illegally in the weeks and months ahead.

“Historically, we've seen higher numbers during the summer months,” said Marlene Castro, Border Patrol spokesperson. “I can't give you specific reasons why. We are prepared. We have several rescue teams available throughout the ranch lands in our area of responsibility.”

Agent Marlene Castrol said if the Valley sees an influx, like the one in 2014, they’ll be ready. She said Border Patrol learned a lot then.  As a result, they implemented changes that made them much more prepared.

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