Cap­ture of non-mex­i­can mi­grants up in South Texas

Rio Grande Val­ley see­ing more il­le­gal im­mi­grants from Cen­tral Amer­ica.

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Byjuan A. Lozano

Hous­ton — Non-Mex­i­can il­le­gal im­mi­grants ac­count for a slen­der ma­jor­ity of the agency’s re­cent ap­pre­hen­sions in South Texas, Bor­der Pa­trol of­fi­cials said Fri­day.

They’re coming mainly from Cen­tral Amer­i­can coun­tries, in­clud­ing El Sal­vador, Guatemala and Hon­duras, said Rosendo Hi­no­josa, chief of the Rio Grande Val­ley Bor­der Pa­trol Sec­tor.

“Usu­ally, about 35 per- cent of the pop­u­la­tion that this sec­tor catches” is non-Mex­i­can mi­grants, Hi­no­josa said. “Right now, we are trend­ing above that. We’re about 50-50 right now. There is no in­di­ca­tion that this will be a long-term phe­nom­e­non. It’s just too early to tell.”

From Oc­to­ber 2011 to July 31, agents ap­pre­hended more than 40,000 non-Mex­i­can mi­grants and about 39,000 peo­ple from Mex­ico. The num­ber of non-Mex­i­can mi­grants ap­pre­hended dur­ing the same 10-month pe­riod a year ear­lier was about 16,000.

Hi­no­josa said the fig­ures are un­usual but not un­heard of, as his sec­tor, which spans 17,000 square miles, tra­di­tion­ally has been an en­try point for il­le­gal im­mi­grants from Cen­tral Amer­ica.

Ex­perts have said ris­ing vi­o­lence fu­eled in part by Mex­i­can drug car­tels mov­ing into Cen­tral Amer­ica and poor eco­nomic con­di­tions are prob­a­bly fu­el­ing the in­crease in mi­grants from there.

The sec­tor has seen other waves in ap­pre­hen­sions of non-Mex­i­can mi­grants. In 2005, 35,000 Brazil­ians were caught try­ing to il­le­gally en­ter the coun­try. Be­tween Oc­to­ber 2009 and March 2011, agents de­tained at least 2,600 il­le­gal immi- grants from In­dia, a dra­matic rise over the typ­i­cal 150 to 300 ar­rests per year. Num­bers for both na­tion­al­i­ties have since dropped.

As the num­ber of Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants has gone up, the num­ber of il­le­gal im­mi­grants from Mex­ico, who still make up the ma­jor­ity of ap­pre­hen­sions na­tion­wide, has been steadily de­clin­ing.

A study re­leased ear­lier this year by the Pew His­panic Cen­ter, a Washington-based think tank, said the il­le­gal mi­gra­tion of Mex­i­cans to the United States is at its low­est level in decades, due in part to the slug­gish Amer­i­can econ­omy and fewer job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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