Albert Spratte, the sergeant-at-arms of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley, says he has noticed a dramatic dip in the number of people coming across the border during the last two weeks or so.
He says one Border Patrol station in the valley recorded just 700 apprehensions for all of last weekend, which was equivalent to the amount of people the station had been apprehending per day. “We’ve had press come down and it’s like, ‘Hey, where is everybody?’ and it’s like, ‘Well it just kind of slowed down,’” Spratte says.
He attributes the decline in illegal immigrants arriving in South Texas to the derailment of “the Beast,” a train that thousands of illegal immigrants have ridden on top of as a part of their journey north through Mexico. The Beast derailed on July 9, stranding approximately 1,300 travelers in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, according to Reuters.
Spratte says he thinks the decrease in illegal immigration does not represent a permanent slowdown, and that the number of illegal immigrants arriving in the Rio Grande Valley will start growing again little by little. “It’s not like they’ve stopped all these people from wanting to come,” he says. “Maybe there’s another explanation at work that we don’t know about. It was kind of surprising to see. I figure with the Beast up and running again it should be increasing, and if not, then something else is out there working that we don’t know about.”