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Border Patrol agents nabbed convicted murderers, a sex offender and gang members in one part of the southern border in less than two days, the latest haul of criminals caught trying to enter the U.S. and get past overwhelmed agents.
Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector on Tuesday arrested a group of eight migrants from Mexico and El Salvador and discovered that one of the Salvadorans had been arrested in 2005 in Dallas for murder. The man, who was also an MS-13 gang member, was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent monitors single adult male detainees at a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas, July 12, 2019. (Reuters/Veronica G. Cardenas//File Photo)
MS-13, also called Mara Salvatrucha, was set up in Los Angeles by Central American immigrants and has expanded across the continent, particularly in Northern Triangle countries like El Salvador and Guatemala.
It is known for its particularly horrific and gruesome crimes, and its motto is said to be “mata, viola, controls,” which translates as “kill, rape, control.”
Just an hour later, a Mexican sex offender was identified during processing at a patrol station. The 36-year-old had a lengthy record, including arrests for drug offenses, assaults and theft. But in 2008, he was arrested for criminal attempt to commit felony rape, aggravated assault, cruelty to children in the first degree and obstructing someone making an emergency phone call. He was eventually convicted for sexual battery and obstruction of someone making an emergency phone call and sentenced to six months imprisonment.
Later that same day, agents located a previously deported MS-13 gang member attempting to enter the U.S. in a group of 19 migrants, including families and unaccompanied children.
On Wednesday, agents located another convicted murderer coming into the U.S. as part of a group. The Salvadoran had been arrested in 2010 and later convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to between 120-300 months in jail.
On the same day, agents picked up another Salvadoran migrant who was identified as an MS-13 gang member.
The apprehensions highlight the potential risk of migrants getting past authorities at the border, with agents regularly noting that they believe there have been hundreds of thousands of “gotaways” last year who got past overwhelmed agents. That crisis has abated slightly since the summer, but there were still more than 170,000 migrant encounters in November alone. Border numbers for December are expected any day.
In Fiscal Year 2021, there were 488 convicted sexual offenders among migrants coming across the border, up dramatically from 156 in FY2020 and 58 in FY2019. So far in FY2022, which began in October, there have been at least 64 sex-related convicted criminals among migrants.
State troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety look toward a helicopter hovering over a makeshift border camp along the International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 23, 2021. (Reuters/Adrees Latif/File Photo)
Additionally, there have been 110 gang members apprehended at the border so far in FY2022. In FY2021, there were 348 gang members apprehended, down slightly from the 363 encountered in FY2020 and significantly from 976 in FY2019. The numbers have led some Republicans to fear gang members are sneaking past an overwhelmed Border Patrol.
The Biden administration has come under heavy criticism for its handling of the crisis, with Republicans accusing the administration of having fueled it by rolling back Trump-era policies that were introduced during the 2019 crisis and brought numbers down dramatically. The Biden administration has accused the Trump administration of shutting down legal asylum pathways and has blamed the surge on “root causes” like violence and poverty in Central America.
Meanwhile, agents in Del Rio Texas told Fox News this week that they picked up more than 30 migrants from Uzbekistan, as well as migrants from Tajikistan, Syria and Mauritania, the latest indication that the crisis at the southern border is drawing migrants from across the globe.