A large group of 116 African nationals was picked up by Border Patrol last week, after being caught on video wading across the Rio Grande River into Texas from Mexico.
What are the details?
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol announced its agents at the Del Rio Station apprehended the group Thursday night around 10:30 p.m., posting video footage on Twitter showing men and women carrying children — arms linked — through waist-high waters.
Chief Raul Ortiz issued a statement the next day saying, “Large groups present a unique challenge for the men and women of the Del Rio Sector. This group from Africa further demonstrates the complexity and severity of the border security and humanitarian crisis at our Southwest border.”
CBP said agents have encountered 182 large groups (defined as 100 individuals or more) of illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico so far this fiscal year, but that this is the first consisting entirely of people from African countries. The individuals were purportedly from Congo, Angola, and Cameroon.
The White House also shared the news to its Twitter feed, declaring, “Our southern border is now a magnet for illegal immigration from all over the world. It’s time for Democrats to help close the loopholes!”
Late last year, Border Patrol Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Roy Villareal told Fox News that for the first time in the agency’s history, a majority of arrests at the U.S. border now consist of people from countries other than Mexico. In the past, most illegal aliens apprehended at the southern border were Mexican nationals looking for work. Now, large groups of families and unaccompanied children are making the trek together from mostly Central American nations.
It is unclear how the group of African nationals ended up at the U.S.-Mexico border.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly called on Mexico to do more to prevent its own citizens and migrants from other countries from pouring into the U.S.
In the past he has threatened to close the U.S. southern border entirely. Last week, he announced week that his administration would soon impose a tariff on Mexican goods “until the illegal immigration problem is remedied.”