Border Patrol Union: Agents Facing Increase in Aggression
EDINBURG – Border Patrol agents across the country are on alert after an off-duty agent was brutally assaulted over the weekend.
This comes as agents are now facing more dangers on duty, according to Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Union spokesperson Chris Cabrera.
“There were some tell-tale signs of things the cartel usually does. Now, do we know for a fact? No. It's speculation at this point. But right now we'll take every precaution, like the worst case scenario,” Cabrera said.
He said agents across the board are facing more aggression on duty.
The number of assaults on agents so far this year is more than double from the same time last year. There were 241 assaults against CBP personnel across the nation from October 2015 to April 2016.
For the same time frame this fiscal year, there have been 529 assaults.
Assaults on agents include anything from getting bitten, rocked or spit on.
“The people we encounter are more desperate,” Cabrera said. “We're intercepting more drug loads, which costs them a lot of money, which causes them to strike back at us.”
Cabrera believes the increase in assaults could also be due to the decrease in catch-and-release practices. He said not many people caught crossing the river are being released to travel freely in the country with a notice to appear in court.
As the federal government continues to enforce strict immigration policies, Cabrera believes aggression against agents will increase.
He said he hopes the El Paso sector case doesn't turn out to be a trend.
“Our agents are always super aware and vigilant and now this. I think it's going to heighten their senses even more,” he said.
Cabrera said agents are anxiously waiting on more details on the investigation into what happened to the agent and why.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has only released one statement on the incident.
It said the agent is in stable condition. He has serious injuries to his head, chest and hands.
The FBI is investigating the case along with the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office and the El Paso Police Department.