Posted on November 22, 2021

Camouflaged Men Evading Border Agents Near Blue Origin Texas Launch Site

Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, November 19, 2021

In a part of the United States that is so remote it’s where rockets like the one that carried Jeff Bezos to space are launched, men dressed in camouflage sneak across the border with the hope of evading authorities.

While southeast Texas is the epicenter of the southern border’s illegal migration crisis, West Texas faces a growing problem that is unlike those in other parts of the border. In the Border Patrol’s Big Bend region of West Texas, which stretches from Del Rio to El Paso, groups of men cross day and night and then spend up to a week trekking through the mountains and desert to avoid detection and meet up with drivers waiting on the highway.

Unlike the hundreds of thousands of families who crossed in the Rio Grande Valley this past year with the goal of surrendering to agents and being released into the country, the men coming over in West Texas are trying not to get caught. They wear camouflage and sometimes attach pieces of carpet to the bottom of their shoes to avoid leaving behind tracks.

Compared to southeastern Texas, the western side is several hundred miles further away for migrants coming from south of Mexico, but the upside is that it is the only area of the border without even one mile of a wall. All other regions have varying amounts of 18- to 30-foot-tall steel border fencing, but nowhere along the 517 miles of the Big Bend region does a border wall prevent people from getting across.


Within the region’s western side, Border Patrol agents based out of the towns of Van Horn, Texas, and Sierra Blanca, Texas, have encountered the large majority of illegal immigrants in recent months. The apprehensions are sometimes no more than a matter of miles from the site of the launch of the rocket that carried the Blue Origin founder to space in July.

Sgt. Jimmy Morris, a tactical flight officer for Texas DPS, is assigned to a helicopter that surveils thousands of square miles surrounding nearby Alpine, Texas. {snip}

“Out of 100, we’re lucky if we catch 15 of them,” Morris said before a helicopter patrol of the area Thursday.

Jeffrey Hammes, a Border Patrol agent who is the president of the National Border Patrol Council’s Big Bend union chapter, estimated 95% of those caught are men or 16- and 17-year-old boys. Most were from Guatemala and came for economic reasons. {snip}


Hammes is concerned that the corporation-like criminal organizations that make billions annually smuggling people into the U.S. could take advantage of Big Bend and is convinced they have already begun doing so. West Texas is “overlooked” because, even though it has seen a huge increase in apprehensions, they pale in comparison to other sectors with hundreds of thousands.

The surge of adult men through here is especially of concern to Hammes, given that regions of the border that have always been slow and quiet have become the busiest in the nation since President Joe Biden took office. From Nov. 5 through Nov. 11, the Del Rio, Texas, and Yuma, Arizona, regions saw the second- and third-most illegal immigrants encountered nationwide after the Rio Grande Valley in southeast Texas, according to data shared by Rep, Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat.

Hammes is worried that a situation such as the one that took place in September in Del Rio, when 30,000 Haitian migrants rushed across the border in a matter of days, could happen in Big Bend and that there would be far too few agents, transport vehicles, supplies, buildings, and food to accommodate those they are able to apprehend.