Representatives from the Local 1929 Border Patrol Union said there are three times more immigrants in facilities than the El Paso Sector is intended to hold.
The union said Border Patrol agents are overwhelmed with the amount of immigrants at holding facilities.
“This is a very unique time in our lifetime. I’ve talked to them and right now they are overwhelmed,” said Paul Garcia, a union steward.
El Paso’s union is hoping Border Patrol agents get the resources they need.
“If our leaders can require a facility to be able to house the immigrants and give the agents an opportunity to do their job more efficiently that would help a lot,” said Carlos Favela, the Executive Vice President for Local 1929 Union.
For now, the union said it’s the agents who are stepping up.
“There have been self-sacrificing. Giving out of their own pocket,” said Favela.
Agents have bought toys, coloring books, and different types of food.
“A lot of these family units are being held and detained in these facilities for a few days. So you can just imagine also what they’re going through,” said Garcia.
“Keep in mind that our holding facilities are meant to hold immigrants for a day or two at the most,” said Favela.
Favela said there is just not enough space.
“So much so that sometimes you can’t even close the cells. They have to sleep you know on the floor,” he said.
He said many agents have gone from being out on the field to inside the station.
“Being out on the field, making apprehensions with the smugglers now to running a holding facility,” said Favela.
The union said with so many people in a small space including those who are sick some agents are getting sick themselves.
Agents have been in contact with everything from chickenpox to bed bugs and different strains of flu.
“They have to quarantine themselves from their family because they don’t want to bring that home,” said Favela.
Garcia said agents are hoping someone will help provide resources.
“It’s a major crisis right now and I think it’s important that our leaders do something about it,” said Garcia.
The union said most of the immigrants are coming from Central America risking everything to get to the U.S.