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Frustrated Border Patrol Agent Speaks: ‘We are babysitting’ and drug smugglers take advantage

A Border Patrol agent fed up with what he calls a humanitarian crisis on the border reached out to ABC-7 to voice his frustration.

The agent, who spoke with ABC-7 us off-camera because he’s not authorized to speak for the agency he works for, said he used to spend his days looking for people breaking the law, but he says for the past few months he’s simply providing humanitarian aid.

“We see forty to fifty people every hour. A hundred-fifty to two-hundred every shift. It’s gotten so bad that the officers are all frustrated. Border Patrol, CBP, they’re all taxed. Nobody’s running. They just walk up to you now. Every one of them has a child with them,” said the agent.

ABC-7 went out to the border to document the agent’s claim, spending hours along the stretch of the US/Mexico border in the Chihuahuita neighborhood near downtown El Paso. Within minutes of our crew’s arrival, ABC-7 spotted a group of seven undocumented immigrants running along the railroad tracks toward the nearest Border Patrol Agent. The undocumented immigrants said they were seeking asylum, were loaded into a white van nearby, then taken to a processing center.

“We don’t have enough officers to constantly shuttle the people back and forth,” said the agent. “It’s almost an opportunity for the smugglers. When they come in, the officers are preoccupied. Officers are farther down and (drug traffickers) compensate for the lack of security at that moment.”

The latest numbers released by the Department of Homeland Security show a 280 percent increase in family units crossing the border, compared to last fiscal year. 2018 was a record year, and this year is on track to surpass that. Apprehensions of migrants between the ports of entry increased 81 percent.

LINK: Customs and Border Protection apprehension data

The agent who spoke with ABC-7 said they need reinforcements to protect the border. “If it’s a wall, put up a wall. If it’s planes, helicopters…whatever! But do something more instead of talking about it. Ask the officers. Ask them what they need! Right now, we are babysitting. We’re supposed to pay attention to medical conditions that we’re not trained for. We are not machines. We’re emotionally stressed.”

In the past month, the Border Patrol has transported 2,224 people who crossed the border to local hospitals along the entire border. It has spent nearly 20-thousand hours providing support and hospital visits. That leaves fewer agents to man the border.

Joe Romero, a border patrol supervisor, acknowledges the volume of work has increased, but says it is still manageable and agents know they should do they best they can with what they have.

“What the Border Patrol is doing is constantly evaluating everything along the border in every sector and area and determining where is the greatest need, so you see the agents shifted from one area to another to adjust to those needs,” said Romero. “Whether you’re working a line or checkpoint there’s always something we have to adjust, and these criminal organizations are adjusting too. They’re exploiting whatever we’ve got.”

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