El Paso, TX (KDBC) — Patrolling 237 miles of the border used to be a dangerous endeavor -- but progress is being made. Border Patrol agents have seen a drastic drop off in how many people they arrest each year.
Local 4's Kay Recede spent an evening with Border Patrol Agents. This is what she experienced:
From sundown to pitch black I spent seven hours with border patrol agents and found. "We didn't see anything,” Ramiro Cordero, a Border Patrol Agent and my tour guide of the evening said.Although there wasn’t much activity that evening, things were very different seven years ago, Cordero told me. "Vehicles going through right through the old border fence."
Surveillance video from 2006 to 2008 showed people cutting the old 5-foot chain link fence, smuggling drugs, and committing other crimes, which used to be an everyday occurrence. Now, an 18-foot fence divides the two countries. "Now you can see that, you know, they're a little bit more apprehensive because of the risks that come with jumping and scaling the fence,” Vanessa Martinez, another Border Patrol Agent explained.
In the El Paso metropolitan area, Border Patrol agents arrest about 140 people who try to cross the border illegally a week. Compare that number to just a decade earlier, where the number was much, much higher. "The level of apprehensions were 13 years ago. You know, I personally used to apprehend 30 people a day,” Cordero said.
The Border Network for Human Rights said they’ve seen great growth in El Paso’s Border Patrol. "We've seen a downward trend in the type of abuses that Border Patrol commits in the El Paso sector,” Jose Manuel Escobedo, the Deputy Director of the Organization said. However, other areas are seeing more human rights abuses, BNHR explained. "The El Paso sector may not be representative of the relationship that Border Patrol has with other communities along the Southern Border."
The border today looks very different from what it used to be. "Dynamics for the border have changed. Drastically,” Cordero explained.
Change is everlasting, and the agency said they will continue to adapt.