Twenty-five days and $6,000 dollars later, a 20 year old and three others, left everything behind because of gang violence in their home country of El Salvador.
“I walk twenty steps to my left, it’s one gang. I walk twenty steps to my right, it’s another gang. Where do I run? Where do I go?”, says the young man who was detained.
But why put so much on the line just to get caught? Because they have a dream.
The man who was detained says the people from his country leave because what they desire is not an option for them.
How did the agents where the group of four was that night? A camera that is set up at Sunland Park Mall when it gets dark can actually spot movement from miles away. In this case the group of four was about two miles away from where the camera is and that gives you an idea of how much the camera can see. This is just one way border patrol agents do their job.
“We’ll use mobile cameras, of course we’ll use agents, we utilize ATV’s and horses and other forms of patrolling”, says Agent Joe Romero.
The El Paso sector covers about 268 -miles of the border. 81 miles of it has an 18 foot high pedestrian fence, some areas have vehicle barriers and other parts, nothing at all.
The fence isn’t meant to prevent people from coming in.
“The fence remember is meant to really buy us time to respond and get that law enforcement resolution”, says Romero.
In urban areas the extra minute or two plays a huge factor in what the agents do but when you get to more desert areas where you’re looking at days our hours to get from point A to point B, the extra minute or two really doesn’t play a role.
In 2016, more than 25 thousand people were apprehended in the El Paso sector, that’s up from the almost 15-thousand in 2015. But still, these numbers are nothing compared to the 122 thousand caught ten years ago.
Bur if you think that high, it’s nothing compared to what other border towns are facing. Last year alone, the Rio Grande Valley apprehended more than 147 thousand people. In Tucson, 63,397 people were detained last year.
“We have the infrastructure that we feel is what we need to be successful”, says Romero.
Back in 2006 , there was a push to hire almost double the number of border patrol agents, going from 12 thousand to 21 thousand. Today, it costs the U.S almost 4 billion dollars to secure it. The latest resources, personnel, technology and infrastructure have given agents today a better idea of the border. Still, each person they apprehend is treated on a case by case basis. Agents say, there is no blanket solution to border security.
For a young man, coming from one of the murder capitals of the world, as long is there no end to the violence, he says nothing will stop them from trying to make it into the U.S.
We checked in on the four people who were detained that night, three of them had no criminal records, only one had prior immigration violations.