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Mexico's commitment has deterred illegal immigration

U.S. Border Patrol
Posted at 12:14 PM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 20:49:35-05

MCALLEN, Texas — Edin Diaz.

I met the 20-year-old Guatemalan native as he was caught illegally crossing into the United States.

When asked why he did it, Diaz replied it was out of necessity to help provide for his family.

It provides a question for our American society of what to do with illegal immigrants like Edin who cross into the United States.

It’s been a polarizing issue across the nation.

President Donald Trump is building a wall and has threatened Mexico with sanctions if they didn't step up their border protection.

According to U.S. Border Patrol agents, those two directives are deterring illegal immigration.

In fact, agents say illegal crossings on our southern border are down more than 80 percent.

"All this... all this was full. All this area you see right here would be full of people," U.S. Border Patrol agent Hermann Rivera describes what it looked like at one of the more heavily trafficked crossing points in Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border last summer.

More than 2,400 people where processed in only one day at this sport near McAllen.

“Agents would set up here with tables and some chairs and cabinets full of food, diapers and milk for kids,” he said.

They say the decline of illegal crossings is attributable to the implementation of program like Migrant Protection Protocols.

It’s an international policy enacted last summer. And at its core, it’s a commitment from Mexico to step up security along our shared border.

"So now they're actually enforcing,” Rivera said. “They actually have immigration laws in their country."

So how big a change are we seeing at our border?

The Rio Grande Valley sector of the Border Patrol, one of eight sectors along Texas, apprehended on average last summer well more than 1,000 people a day.

Fast forward to today and that number is down to 300 captures on average per day.

"They're actually enforcing them now,” Rivera said. “So they’re keeping their borders but catching the people who are trying to come in illegally and keep them from crossing.”

Just two weeks ago, Mexican National Guard agents stopped a caravan of undocumented migrants from Central America who waded across a river into Mexico.

Hundreds were detained and deported.

Edin Diaz is one of those illegal immigrants the laws are aimed at stopping.

This is Edin's second try to cross illegally.

I ask him, did he know of the tougher laws that are in place to cross the border?

He said he did...and knows it's a tougher journey... but he will keep trying.

"Yes, but like I'm gonna tell you, I say in life that one does it out of necessity not because one wants to," he said. "One does it to get our families ahead in life but it's not possible. Only God has the final say of what he does."

The Border Wall, another factor agents say works as a deterrent.

"I know what a bunch of people looks like and what a wall does,” Rivera said.

“Prior to this being built here this area was very busy because nothing was keeping them back so they just go across the levy here and right into the brush.

“Now, they can't do that. Now, there are gaps where they get funneled through and we know that's one of the areas they're going to try to come through that makes it easier for us."