TUCSON, AZ – 32 Mexican nationals, clad in camouflage outfits, were arrested by a mounted Border Patrol unit on Thursday while illegally crossing the southern U.S. border near the Arizona-New Mexico state line, according to reports.
Interim Chief Patrol Agent for the Tucson Sector, John Modlin, announced the incident via Twitter, and included a picture of the mounted officers detaining the migrants while a helicopter was seen in the overhead sky.
“The Douglas Station’s #Horse Patrol Unit arrested a group of 32 migrants after illegally crossing the border,” he said. “The 32 Mexican Nationals utilized camouflage clothing to blend into the surrounding vegetation.”
Wearing clothing in order to blend in with the surrounding terrain is a common practice among migrants when illegally attempting to cross the border, officials say, enabling them to move around unimpeded by making it harder for Border Patrol agents to spot them.
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Reports indicate that the number of border-crossings have dramatically increased recently; in April, 178,000 people – including over 13,000 unaccompanied children – were captured as they attempted to enter the country illegally.
This past Monday, Border Patrol agents nabbed 23 migrants jam-packed into a small boat off the coast of San Diego, and last week agents in El Paso, Texas arrested 20 who were squeezed into the bed of a pick-up truck and a cargo trailer that the vehicle has hauling. Three days ago, 124 migrants – including 105 unaccompanied children – were caught in San Miguel, Arizona, officials say.
Sabri Dikman, acting deputy chief patrol agent of the Tucson Sector – a 262-mile stretch of the southern border of border between Arizona and New Mexico – warned that the upcoming summer months will make the long trek into the United States especially dangerous for migrants.
“The desert is vast and it’s treacherous, when you cross illegally you put your life in incredible peril,” he said. “I’m telling you this not only as a Border Patrol agent, but as one who spent his entire 23-year career in Arizona. I speak from experience.”