DEL RIO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Out of control. That’s how border agent John Anfinsen describes the amount of illegal crossings in the Del Rio area. “On a weekly basis we are somewhere between 6,000 to 7,000 in a week,” he said. “Where in years past, 2,000 would be a lot.”
There are so many people to process, agents are now being pulled from patrol to handle paperwork. “They are frequently babysitting,” said Anfinsen. “Even when we were busy in the past, we still had enough agents to go out into the field to patrol. Now we have some stations where the entire shift is indoors processing.”READ MORE: Parkland Doctors Urge Parents To Put COVID-19 Vaccine On Back-To-School To-Do List For Students 12 And Up
In March, Governor Abbott sent 1,000 DPS troopers to help. Anfinsen says they are still outmatched. “We see [illegal immigrants] because they pop up on cameras and sensors, but we can’t do anything about it. All we can do is count it as a person who’s gotten away from us. That’s the best we can do at this point.”READ MORE: Hit-And-Run: Investigators Looking For Red Toyota Camry Connected To Katie M. Derouin's Death
Gov. Abbott’s latest plan is to resume construction of the border wall. Last month he announced a $250 million ‘down payment’ for the project, and opened a fund for donations from the public. CBS 11 News obtained state records showing money flooding in from all over America. In the week after Abbott’s announcement, thousands of people from more than 40 states sent money for the wall. The payments ranged from $1 all the way up to $5,000.
In the first week, donations totaled more than $430,000. The governor’s office says that number now stands at $790,000.MORE NEWS: Fight Delays, Cancellations Increase As Air Travel Hits Another Pandemic High
Anfinsen says he’s on board, but the wall can’t be the only solution. “Any physical barrier that we put up will help,” he told Ken Molestina. “In the meantime there are a lot of things in the U.S. that are drawing people to come here. Until we deal with things like businesses that employ people who are illegally present in the U.S., until we deal with an asylum system that is, frankly, being abused, there is no incentive for people to not come.”