Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol agents captured three Chinese nationals after they illegally entered the country and arrested the alleged human smuggler, a U.S. citizen, immediately thereafter.
The three illegal immigrants and smuggler were apprehended on Thursday while Breitbart News was with the McAllen Station riverine agents patrolling the Rio Grande on open-air SAFE boats provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) McAllen Branch.
According to riverine agents, after Mexican and Central American illegal immigrants, Chinese nationals are among the most frequent caught at the southern border.
The incident happened at one of the most active border crossing locations on the southwestern U.S.-Mexico border.
Coordinating with land-based agents, Border Patrol agents operate migrant detection devices, such as cameras, along the river in order to detect illegal immigrants and help bring agents to targeted locations.
Agents received a radio call that there were people crossing the river, and as they got on the U.S. side of the shore, the three illegal immigrants, one female and two male Chinese nationals, were met by the alleged human smuggler. The four were caught on the spot, although they attempted to flee.
The smuggler was subsequently arrested and the three Chinese nationals were brought to the McAllen Central Processing Station to receive a health check and go through a background investigation, CBP officials stated.
The number of illegal immigrants entering the country at the southern border has dropped greatly from month to month over the past year, down almost 70 percent compared to the high in May of this year.
In May, 144,000 illegal immigrants were caught at the border; by September, it was 52,546. Despite this trend, the number of border apprehensions in the United States in 2019 is the highest the country has seen in a decade.
At the end of Fiscal Year 2019, which ended Sept. 30, the border patrol caught 850,000 illegal immigrants. At its peak, 5,000 illegal immigrants were caught every day, by September it was down to about 1,700.
The drop is attributed to a policy initiated at the end of 2018 by President Donald Trump’s administration, called the “Remain in Mexico” program.
Under the program, would-be illegal immigrants from Central America, where a significant portion of illegal immigrants originate, are kept in Mexico, while their asylum claims are evaluated.
Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said when he announced the numbers in October, “This is an unprecedented achievement.”
Additionally, Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan recently announced the end of the “catch and release” immigration policy under which a significant portion of illegal immigrants exploited to remain in the country illegally.
Catch and release was a policy that allowed illegal immigrants to remain in the country after they were caught entering, hoping they would show up to their court dates to determine whether they could stay in the country. Most do not show up to their court dates.