For the past four months, Border Patrol says its Tucson sector has been the busiest for migrant apprehensions in the country, with that trended expected to continue through the end November.

That’s a distinction Congressman Juan Ciscomani (R-6) doesn’t want for his district, telling me “it’s not sustainable.”

Speaking to me from his Congressional office in D.C., the Southeastern Arizona representative knows the unprecedented influx of migrants is stressing Border Patrol agents to their limits.

“Now we’re reaching almost 3,000 encounters in one day. Over 15,000 a week,” he tells me. “No one ever thought that we were going to be seeing those numbers.”

I also checked in with the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents the 18,000 members of the U.S. Border Patrolthe men and women who are on the front line of this border crisis in the Tucson sector.

I spoke with Art Del Cueto, vice president of the council. He’s based in Tucson and knows the struggles firsthand that his agents are seeing in the field.

I asked him about the morale of his border patrol agents:

“The morale is the lowest that I’ve ever seen it,” says Del Cueto. “I keep saying that every time I do another interview. Unfortunately, it just gets lower and lower. Just when you think it can’t get low enough, something like this happens. It’s very busy previously, it’s very busy.

“Just the Tucson sector alone, you’re looking at well over 14,000 a week, close to 15,000, and you know it’s trying times.”

Ciscomani tells me he’s concerned that Border Patrol has had to divert agents to processing and transporting migrants, which could have a negative impact on the southern Arizona economy.

“Moving people from ports of entry that support tourism and trade for our state. It’s just getting worse and worse,” Ciscomani says.

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Del Cueto says agents are concerned about the number of “got-aways,” or those who were detected but never apprehended by border patrol. He says those numbers will likely increase with fewer agents actively patrolling the border.

Ciscomani calls it a humanitarian crisis as well.

I asked him what role Congress can play in fixing the crisis at the border. He points to the recently created Task Force to Combat Mexican Drug Cartels.

Ciscomani is a member of that task force.

“All of theses crises are [caused by] the Mexican cartels, and people need to realize that this is not just random individuals trying to get across,” says Ciscomani. “This is a coordinated effort allowed and promoted and sponsored by these cartels that you’re talking about, who control the traffic, and put the actual migrants being trafficked in serious danger.

“So, dealing with the drug cartels is a big piece of this,” says Ciscomani.


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