Border Patrol agents assigned to a remote part of South Texas arrested three sex offenders who had abused children and been previously deported over the Thanksgiving holiday as they attempted to reenter the United States from Mexico illegally.
Federal law enforcement agents in Eagle Pass caught the three convicted sex offenders in separate incidents between Nov. 21 and Nov. 24 when each man crossed the Rio Grande in small groups trying to avoid getting caught by Border Patrol, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
All three men had been convicted of crimes against children and then deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and tried to reenter the U.S.
CBP listed 21 arrests of sex offenders in October and 20 in November.
But over the past two years, sex offender encounters at the border have spiked. They jumped from a low of 58 arrests in fiscal 2019 to 488 in 2021 and 365 so far in 2022 amid record-high illegal immigrant encounters under President Joe Biden.
Republican congressmen from Texas who spoke with the Washington Examiner on Wednesday evening were furious about the increase and said it was another sign of the Biden administration’s failed border policies.
“Border Patrol agents … are doing everything they can to find those sex offenders and those rapists and those murderers and those violent criminals, but they’re being relegated to administrative duties inside some processing center, and they’re not able to actually get out there — not to mention the overwhelming numbers. So it’s just incomprehensible to think this is going on and there’s nothing being done,” said Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX).
He and other House Republicans have called for Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to resign — or risk impeachment next year. Pfluger said the border has reached a “flashing red” warning level as the people coming across are putting communities and children at risk.
“It’s unbelievable,” Pfluger said of the number of criminals reentering the country, including terrorists and gang members.
Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX), a former Texas sheriff, lambasted the Biden administration for failures at the border, saying the response is “almost criminal.” While these criminals were apprehended, Nehls is concerned about the many immigrants who illegally enter the country but evade arrest.
“Those are the bad hombres we should all be concerned about,” Nehls said, echoing a phrase used by former President Donald Trump. “I bet you many of them are going to be with criminal records relating to sexual offenses or drug offenses or even terrorists. … I don’t know how Joe Biden sleeps at night.”
CBP arrests can happen in one of two places: at land, air, and sea ports as people come through customs checkpoints or illegally by walking across the land border.
On Nov. 28, federal customs officers in Texas at the Presidio port of entry arrested a 55-year-old Texas man who had an outstanding warrant for the aggravated assault of a child in Midland. CBP officers nabbed the man when he attempted to enter the U.S. from Mexico at a land port of entry and underwent a standard background check.
“The primary mission of CBP is homeland security however the thorough CBP inspection process will frequently identify those who are being sought by law enforcement,” said CBP Presidio acting Port Director Ronnie Raulston in a statement. “Stopping those being sought by law enforcement helps keep our communities safe.”
In one incident involving the Border Patrol last week, a Honduran man convicted of indecent liberties with a child in North Carolina in 2007 and deported to Guatemala in 2009 was apprehended after crossing the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass as part of a small group.
A second Guatemalan man convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child in Houston earlier this year and deported in May was caught the following day.
The third arrest occurred on Thanksgiving Day. A Honduran man who crossed with a group of 15 others was taken into custody and determined to have been convicted of indecency with a child sexual contact in the Austin suburb of Pflugerville. He was sentenced to five years behind bars and deported in 2020.
Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe told the Washington Examiner in a phone call Tuesday that local law enforcement who apprehend illegal immigrants do not have the time or resources to run background checks on each person before turning them over to Border Patrol.
“Sometimes it’s cumbersome to do it, but we rarely run a criminal history check on everyone we catch,” Coe said.
According to CBP statistics, fewer than 1% of the 2.77 million encounters of illegal immigrants in the fiscal year that ended in September were of people previously convicted of a crime in the U.S. Border officials are unable to see individuals’ records outside of the U.S.
Arrests of criminals convicted of manslaughter and homicide have jumped by a greater percentage than that of sex offenders. Fewer than eight homicide arrests have been made dating back to 2016, the earliest CBP data available. Over the past two years, more than 120 criminals convicted of homicide have been encountered trying to reenter the U.S.
Illegally reentering the country after being deported is a federal felony and is punishable with up to 20 years in prison.
Reporting from The Washington Examiner.