Capture of non-mexican migrants up in South Texas
Rio Grande Valley seeing more illegal immigrants from Central America.
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.