San Angelo and Abilene fall under the Del Rio Sector of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This sector encompasses 55,063 square miles of Texas. The area also reaches 300 miles into Texas from the U.S.-Mexico border. This sector includes 47 counties.
The Del Rio Sector has stations in San Angelo, Abilene, Brackettville, Comstock, Eagle Pass, Rocksprings, Carrizo Springs, and Uvalde.
Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Juan Bernal says once Title 42 expired in May, the agency went back to the Title 8 authority, which is what the Border Patrol has operated under for decades.
Title 8 allows the agency to apply consequences and remove individuals from the U.S.
“If you have been found guilty of entering the country illegally, and we have applied these administrative and/or criminal consequences, you could be banned for five or more years from reapplying for entry to the U.S.,” Bernal said.
He also warns about the dangers of crossing illegally.
“You’re at the mercy of the coyotes,” Bernal said.
“Coyote” is a term for human smugglers or traffickers who, officials say, have no regard for human life and treat humans as disposable.
Bernal also warns of other hazards of trying to cross the border illegally such as harsh weather conditions, heat-related illnesses, dehydration, and the potential of drowning.
“Just here in the Del Rio Sector for fiscal year 2022, we lead the nation with 259 deaths,”
At the time of this report, the sector has reported 59 deaths.
“In fiscal year 2021, we had over 259,000 apprehensions. That was more than the nine previous years combined. Fiscal year 2022, we exceeded that by almost double. We had over 480,000 apprehensions,” Bernal said.
At the time of this interview, Bernal says the sector has had over 250,000 apprehensions for fiscal year 2023.
“The best path to take is the legal pathway. Do no put yourself at harm’s risk,” Bernal said.
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