Two groups of mainly Cuban nationals attempted to rush the Hidalgo port of entry by running across the Hidalgo International Bridge near McAllen, Texas, late Tuesday evening, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
According to a CBP official in an emailed statement, “At about 6:50 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, U.S. Customs and Border Protection deployed officers and concertina wire to temporarily close the Hidalgo International Bridge in response to multiple groups of undocumented aliens that had attempted to enter the port without inspection.”
The international bridge divides Hidalgo County, Texas, from the very violent Mexican city of Reynosa, which is the epicenter of much of the cartel activity of Cártel del Golfo.
Customs agents temporarily suspended pedestrian and vehicular traffic for roughly two hours. Then, another group of “approximately 50 undocumented aliens attempted entry without inspection at Hidalgo Bridge at 12:24 a.m. on Thursday, July 4.” This time, CBP went a step further and redeployed the “port hardening” measures “at mid-bridge.”
According to one Spanish-language source based in Tamaulipas, the first group was composed of 37 Cuban nationals. CBP confirmed with CR that “it appears both groups were primarily Cuban nationals.”
Recently, Cuban migration through the land border has been increasing so much that they are now taking over much of the street-level crime in cities like Juarez. In May, Kyle Williamson, special agent in charge of the DEA in El Paso, told CR, “The Cubans are pretty much occupying all of the motels in town and, together with the Hondurans, are working the street-level drug trafficking.”
Jaeson Jones, former captain of the Texas Rangers’ Border Security Operations Center, told me there is something bigger going on. “You could never get away with this without the Reynosa faction of the Gulf Cartel slaughtering the heck out of them,” said the former Texas Department of Public Safety officer, who conducted many counter-narcotics operations in Hidalgo County. “They clearly did this with the permission of the cartel in order that they can distract from the drug loads passing between the ports of entry at the time. This is a common tactic. The bigger the load, the bigger the distraction. This is especially true with the Cubans who are involved in organized crime now in Mexico.”
The fact that CBP’s Office of Field Operations is now deploying resources at the midpoint of an international bridge is an important development. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) always has the ability to prevent migrants from coming ashore. There is no reason why the military and Border Patrol can’t do the same between the ports by holding the line in the river itself and turning back anyone who attempts to cross. The same hold-the-line strategy that is working at the ports could likely work between the ports, at least in Texas, where the river is the international border.
The news about the Cuban immigrants comes at a time when non-Central American illegal immigrants are increasing, as the numbers from the three Central American countries have declined off their peak in May. CBP announced today that 1,000 Haitians have been apprehended in the Del Rio sector alone since June 10. “This demographic is unique in that most are family units with a biological minor child who is a national of a third country, usually in South America,” said CBP in a statement. “About 800 of the 1,000 apprehensions are members of a family unit, and include over 230 minor children who are nationals of a third country such as Brazil and Chile. Many of these family units have resided in Chile and other South American countries for several years prior to departing for the United States.”
Indeed, the numbers from those other South American countries have been increasing over the past few weeks. Last week, 650 Brazilian nationals were caught at the Texas border, almost double the number from the week of June 12, according to Texas data exclusively obtained by CR from a Border Patrol agent who must remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak to the press.
Additionally, 35 Chilean nationals were apprehended last week, up from just one two weeks ago. Also, 80 Venezuelans were caught over the same week, a number that has been steadily rising and lends credence to concerns that the failed nation-state will be the next migration shoe to drop at our border. Then there is the steady flow of Africans and even Middle Easterners. Another 54 Bangladeshis were caught at the Texas border, according to the same weekly apprehension report.
One thing is clear: Even if the downward trend of migration from the Central American northern triangle continues, there are endless numbers of migrants from other countries who would love to take advantage of catch-and-release, as long as our government continues the policy of allowing them to land on our side of the river in the first place.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.