The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reported on Friday that agents and aircrews apprehended multiple illegal migrant groups wearing camouflage military-style gear in the remote West Texas Big Bend Sector.
The migrants were apparently wearing camo in order to avoid detection as they were crossing into the interior U.S. in the barren West Texas desert. Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Sean L. McGoffin posted a tweet on Friday showing agents transporting a camo-wearing group to a pickup and processing location.
Aircrews from CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) assisted with the deployment of agents from the Marfa and Van Horn stations after the group was detected during routine surveillance. The aircrew guided ground-based agents to the remote location west of U.S. Highway 90 where the migrants were traveling. The operation led to the arrest of 14 migrants.
At about the same time in another part of the sector, another AMO aircrew worked with ground agents at the Van Horn station to locate and capture another group of 11 migrants. That group was similarly dressed out in camo fatigue-style clothing.
The second group was eventually located by ground agents hiding in a rocky cave near the town of Van Horn. The ground agents were similarly guided to the hiding place by the AMO aircrew agents.
Both aircrews were on standard border operations when the camouflaged illegal migrants were spotted. All of the arrested migrants were transported to the Sierra Blanca Border Patrol Station for further processing. It is uncertain whether the migrants have been released or will be subject to immediate return to Mexico pursuant to Title 42.
The status of the Trump-era Title 42 public health order is still pending a final resolution by the U.S. Supreme Court. The protocols, also known as MPP, remain in place for the time being, and a final rule from the court is expected in the next two weeks. The order was put in place as a measure for combating the spread of COVID-19 and allows for the immediate return of many illegal aliens apprehended while crossing the southern border.
CBP reported there were 239,416 encounters with illegal migrants at the southern border in May. That marked a 2% increase over the number encountered in April.