EAGLE PASS, Texas — Chief of the United States Border Patrol Jason Owens made a surprise visit to the small Texas border town of Eagle Pass, Texas. Media flocked to the city as Border Patrol encountered approximately 15,000 mostly Venezuelan migrants in the span of eight days.
After touring a migrant staging site under the Eagle Pass International Bridge 1 and several migrant crossing spots, Owens spoke to reporters on Tuesday about the strain the latest migrant influx has placed on his agency. The newly appointed Border Patrol chief told reporters what they are witnessing in Eagle Pass is a good example of what is being seen along other parts of the southwest border.
“I want you to notice the efforts of our Border Patrol agents, the spirit, drive, and determination that the men and women who wear this uniform have, who come in each and every day to face the overwhelming challenges they face managing not only this influx, but trying to maintain the border security mission that keeps all of our communities safe,” Owens emphasized.
Owens, the former chief patrol agent for the Del Rio Sector, says the task of providing for the migrants’ needs in large numbers negatively impacts other tasks the agency should also focus on. “While my men and women are dedicated and engaged in this effort, they cannot be out on patrol looking for things like fentanyl and other hard narcotics, and criminals taking advantage of us not being out on patrol,” the chief explained.
As reported by Breitbart Texas, nearly 1,800 migrants were apprehended entering the small Texas border town of Eagle Pass on Monday. Nearly 1,400 migrants made landfall along the Rio Grande in the heart of the Eagle Pass downtown area. They were quickly moved to a Border Patrol processing facility that is already nearly five times over its capacity of 1,000 migrants.
Early Tuesday morning, as usual as of late, groups of mostly Venezuelan migrants began crossing to the United States side of the Rio Grande. The migrants were met with Texas Army National Guard inflatable patrol boats that attempted to discourage the migrants from making landfall. The attempts ultimately failed, allowing the migrants to reach an island in the Rio Grande where Texas authorities removed a Venezuelan flag installed by the migrants on Monday.
A group of nearly 200 migrants ultimately reached the U.S. bank of the Rio Grande, and a standoff ensued between Texas Army National Guard soldiers deployed to the area by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the migrants attempting to breach concertina wire along the river. Additional soldiers were brought into the area and installed several additional layers of concertina wire to hold the migrants back.
Shortly after Chief Owen’s arrival, Border Patrol agents cut through the concertina wire, allowing the migrants to surrender after the hours-long standoff. After cutting a small gap in the concertina wire, the large group of migrant men, women, and several small children were taken to the makeshift staging site under the bridge to await transport to a nearby Border Patrol processing facility.
Addressing the issue of cutting concertina wire to the reporters, Owens said the migrants are already on U.S. soil after landfall at the wire’s edge.
“If they start getting swept away by the currents or start succumbing to the environment, the extreme temperatures and humidity that you all feel right now, and my men and women see that, they are not going to let somebody die or get into harm’s way” the chief stated.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.
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