Assaults on Border Patrol agents rise as border chaos spreads, agents say.
By Richard Sisk
The Associated Press
Posted May 3, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.
SAN ISIMAL, Calif. — The last time the agents in a small border town in the Sonoran Desert were called to assist with the enforcement of immigration law was the year after 9/11 when thousands were detained by law enforcement agencies — and still many were caught in the country illegally.
This time, many have said they’ve seen the same things. They say the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has become more aggressive, especially in the last couple of years, with a series of assaults on agents.
“CBP was not doing enforcement at all before 2016,” said one agent who oversees the region near San is Malls at a recent gathering of about 30 agents. “This is a crisis situation.”
Agency officials say they’re still dealing with an influx of migrants who have crossed into the U.S. illegally as they try to apprehend the criminals who commit illegal gun sales under the cover of darkness, or the people trying to cross the border with counterfeit medicine or stolen passports, and the ones who try to blend in with migrants carrying babies.
But the agency’s agents say they are doing more patrols and making more arrests than ever before, and even a recent operation in which its agents chased a bus full of people into Mexico as it drove along the border fence and then followed it back — after a man from the bus tried to grab the agent’s gun by holding on to it, prompting a chase — brought some new officers back.
“We’ve had some people say, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever been shot at,’” said Border Patrol agent Jorge Hernandez, who used to be the only agent assigned to the border town of Nogales near the border with Arizona. “I know for a fact we were doing that type of operation two or three times a week… and I’m pretty confident we were.”