Big Bend National Park experiences uptick in undocumented migrant apprehensions

Border Patrol officers and National Park rangers have apprehended over 300 undocumented migrants in Big Bend National Park since November 25. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Big Bend Sector.

BIG BEND — Approximately 340 undocumented migrants were apprehended in Big Bend National Park from November 25 to December 6, an unusual trend for an area which typically doesn’t see that level of traffic across the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Yes, apprehensions within Big Bend National Park are less frequent than other areas, but with mild weather it is more doable for people being pushed through versus during the hotter months,” said Big Bend Sector Public Affairs Officer for Customs and Border Protection Greg Davis in an email. 

Over the weekend of November 27, 50 undocument migrants were found within the national park. An additional 70 individuals were apprehended December 1, hailing from Venezuela. Most recently, on December 3, 35 more undocument migrants were apprehended, and on December 6, 40 more individuals — the majority also coming from Venezuela. Big Bend National Park rangers assisted Border Patrol in locating the individuals. 

“Big Bend Sector agents work hard every day along with local agencies to protect the American people and safeguard our borders,” said Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Sean McGoffin. “We appreciate our relationship with the National Park Service Rangers and all of our partners in the Big Bend region.”

All individuals were transported to the Alpine Border Patrol Station for processing and will be processed under established Big Bend Sector Guidelines. If the Alpine station reaches capacity, individuals are moved to another station for processing. Subjects are generally in Border Patrol custody for just a few hours, said Davis, and if not returned to Mexico, are moved to the custody of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. 

“We at Big Bend National Park have seen considerable growth in asylum seekers crossing our southern border in recent weeks, and are working closely with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in responding to these crossings through the park,” said Bob Krumenaker, the park’s superintendent in an email. “Some of the people are in need of medical care, and park rangers are providing care to those individuals as needed. This increased activity on the border should have little effect on the typical park visitor experience.”