Border Patrol reports that so far this year, there has been a 20 percent increase in apprehensions on the border of immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras compared to last year.
“The numbers [of immigrants entering the Rio Grande Valley] have definitely increased gradually,” said Norma Pimentel, director of Catholic Charities in McAllen.
Sister Pimentel says the numbers of immigrants have slowly gone up to numbers similar in 2014, when child immigrants began entering in large numbers to the Valley.
The only difference, Sister Pimentel says, is that Border Patrol now has been able to handle and process immigrant families with more detention facilities that accommodate families with children.
However, Border Patrol’s biggest worries within these groups of immigrants are criminals mixed with families, which can pose a threat to national security.
“We discovered criminal aliens, to include gang members, sex offenders and individuals who are wanted,” said Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Robert Rodríguez.
While at the Sacred Heart respite in McAllen, CBS 4 News spoke with Wilmer Aguirre, who recently arrived from Honduras with his two children. Aguirre says he was a farmer on the Caribbean coastal town of Colón in Honduras. His journey to the US took him a month.
“We’re living with horrible insecurity and terrible poverty,” Aguirre said. “And I believe that is the reason why we come to [the United States].”
Aguirre says his goal is to follow laws in the U.S. and ask for some sort of asylum. Aguirre is being monitored with an ankle monitor, but plans to meet family in North Carolina to start a new life.