Huge spike in illegal border crossings seen during immigration debate

Since the debate on immigration reform reignited in Washington, residents and border patrol agents in Texas have seen a marked increase in illegal border crossings. The debate seems to have prompted the increase, according to a CBS News report.

“I’m being invaded by people who have no permission to be on my property,” Juan Mercado said. “By smugglers, by illegals.” Mercado’s border property has been in his family since the 1850s, and he says the number of crossings has tripled.

Border patrol agents in the Rio Grande sector told CBS News apprehensions have risen from 2,800 in January to 7,500 in March.

Chris Cabrera, agent and union representative said many of the illegal immigrants think that once here, immigration reforms debated in Washington may allow them to remain.

“Once the first group gets across they call their family, they call their friends and let them know, ‘hey the time is right, come on over,'” he said.

In McAllen recently, agents had to use their station’s carport to process 800 people who’d been caught.

“The people in Washington think they have this idea that the border is safe, the border is secure,” Cabrera said. “I think they need to come down here and take a look.”

Securing the border has been a key requirement of reform measures by border state representatives. Reform could be tied to adding more guards, cameras and drones, but in the mean-time, border agents are shifting resources to cover the surge.

Watch the CBS News report here.

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