The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has arrested over 1,100 migrants from African countries in less than two months – and that is just in one sector, the Del Rio Sector. CBP agents assigned to the Del Rio Sector made this announcement in a press release.
“The apprehension of people from African countries illegally crossing our borders continues to increase,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz. “Our agents this year have encountered people from 51 countries other than Mexico including 19 countries from the continent of Africa.”1
Del Rio Sector continues to see people from the continent of Africa illegally crossing the border into the United States. The majority of apprehensions have been in the Del Rio area, consisting mostly of family units and single adults.
CBP says the dramatic rise in African migrants arriving in the area is a humanitarian crisis. Most of these migrants are reported to be from Angola, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo, CBP said.
It is not exactly clear what route the African migrants are taking. However, in a recent interview with NPR, some of them described travelling from their home countries to Brazil then making their way north through Colombia and Central America towards the US-Mexico border, a journey that would take several months. CBP released footage showing migrants completing the last part of that journey by wading through the Rio Grande river that separates Mexico from Texas.
“Our Border Patrol agents are facing more unique challenges every day as the number of family units from different regions of the world continue to increase,” Del Rio Sector acting Chief Patrol Agent Randy Davis said in a previous statement.
U.S. authorities are reportedly strained as agents who mostly process large numbers of Central American migrants are now dealing with translating different languages while initiating the asylum process.
For fiscal year 2019 to date, Del Rio Sector’s total apprehensions are in excess of 44,000 illegal immigrants, already more than double the total number of arrests made during the previous fiscal year. The number of African migrants apprehended so far already exceeds that of last year. For example, agents arrested 45 Eritreans, 33 Somalians and no one from the Republic of Congo or Angola at the southern border over the course of fiscal year 2018, according to CBP data. Going further back, in the last full budget year of the Obama administration, one Eritrean, one Cameroonian, one person from the Republic of Congo and one from Angola were arrested for crossing illegally.
This year’s arrests includes the largest single group of Africans ever seen by authorities at the southern border where a group of 116 people from Angola, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo were apprehended after they crossed the Rio Grande River near Del Rio on May 31.