SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — More than 200,000 migrants crossed the border into the U.S. Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector through August of this fiscal year, a record number, according to agency data.
“That number is the highest in the last two decades,” said Border Patrol Agent Gerardo Gutierrez.
The numbers for the month of September are expected to be made public in about a week, at which point U.S. Customs and Border Protection will also release final figures for Fiscal Year 2023 year, which ended Sept. 30.
The San Diego Sector stretches 75 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, and agents continue to see hundreds of migrants daily entering the U.S. throughout, especially in the mountains east of San Diego near the town of Jacumba, California.
“When we have a lot of people coming in, we take priority on the most vulnerable populations like children, women and family units,” said Gutierrez. “It is taking us longer because there is a lot of people, but we do as fast of a job as we can with this influx of migrants.”
Gutierrez stated that for single men coming into the country, it will take longer to process them, as long as Border Patrol processing centers continue to operate at capacity.
“One of the things we’re telling them is there’s only one way to come into the U.S. and that is doing it legally, for them to present themselves at a port of entry or a consulate of their country otherwise it could be a very dangerous journey for them,” he said.
Gutierrez told Border Report that they are now working with their Mexican counterparts as well as Mexico’s military to arrest smugglers and to keep migrants from crossing the border.
Mexican soldiers and marines are now patrolling the international barrier on the south side of the border, especially along the coast where the Border Patrol is replacing the border fence that runs into the ocean.
This is where crews have put up temporary fencing that migrants and smugglers are getting by to enter the U.S.
“There are a lot of good results coming out of this collaboration with Mexico and that’s our goal,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez says this working relationship with Mexico is paying off in various ways including the recent arrest, on the U.S. side of the border, of two known cartel members who were carrying weapons and ammunition.