U.S. Border Officials Report Surge in ‘Dangerous’ Human Smuggling Attempts by Train
El Paso, TX – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials say they are seeing a massive surge in illegal immigration attempts by train.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) extensively reports on the ongoing battle at both the U.S. Northern and Southern borders.
Specifically, TNN focuses on incidents in which drug and human smuggling cartels deploy big rigs to facilitate their illegal activity.
However, these criminal enterprises also frequently use trains and the problem is worsening.
Consider what is happening right now in El Paso.
According to CBP, since the beginning of the current fiscal year, officers working the two downtown rail crossings in El Paso have removed 292 illegal immigrants from rail cars.
That is up more than 60% when compared to the 181 people CBP officers apprehended during the same timeframe a year ago.
Compare that to fiscal year 2019 when CBP reported officers encountered only 50 people who attempted to enter the U.S. without inspection via rail crossings.
CBP officers inform they are encountering illegal migrants from a variety of locations but primarily Mexico and Central America.
“We cannot stress how dangerous of a practice this is and we encourage any considering this to not proceed with their plans,” said CBP Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha. “People are climbing on rail cars and hiding in places not designed to accommodate human beings. Fortunately we have yet to encounter anyone who has been maimed while attempting this but I am afraid that at some point we will.”
This dangerous practice is further compounded by the time the crossings take place.
International rail exchanges generally occur overnight between midnight and 6 a.m. so as to not impact street traffic in downtown Juárez, Mexico (just south of El Paso, TX) during daytime and evening hours.
CBP Officers process arriving rail cars at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific crossings on either side of the Paso Del Norte international bridge, which is located south of downtown El Paso.
Every arriving rail car is examined using non-intrusive x-ray technology.
CBP officers also visually inspect the rail cars as they slowly enter the U.S. from Mexico.
Often they are supported by canine teams.
During these exams people have been found riding on top of rail cars, in naturally occurring voids, holding onto the undercarriage, within brand new vehicles that are being shipped north, and other locations on and within the rail cars.
Those taken into custody are generally immediately processed for return to Mexico under Title 42 unless circumstances demand the application of other consequences.
Officials also often apprehend criminals who are wanted by U.S. law enforcement for serious offenses or those who have been deported multiple times.
CBP reports that approximately 6,500 rail cars enter El Paso from Mexico on a monthly basis.