(NewsNation) — Reported assaults on U.S. Border Patrol agents are on track to meet or surpass last year’s high. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is reporting more than 180 assaults on agents in the last five months.
In two weeks along the southern border, more than 64,000 migrants were encountered. Sources now say that brings the total number of migrant encounters to more than one million this fiscal year to date.
“Agents are facing real threats out there every single day, because they don’t know who they’re encountering until they walk up on, especially at two o’clock in the morning,” former U.S. Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott said.
According to CBP data, there have been 185 assaults on Border Patrol agents since this fiscal year began in October, which is right on track to hit last year’s high of 554 assaults. 22 assaults were reported in just a single week.
“Guess who doesn’t traditionally, at least assault Border Patrol agents? People that are actually fleeing from fear, persecution in their own country and want to claim asylum in the United States. They walk up to the first agent they can find and they surrender. They don’t assault agents. They don’t try to get away,” Scott said.
Current Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz said: “The amount of combative encounters has become a problem. We appreciate the level of support from our DOJ partners to ensure these perpetrators are prosecuted.”
Agents tell NewsNation they are frustrated because they don’t feel as though the assaults are taken seriously. Some have even stopped reporting incidents altogether.
“They want open and shut cases that they can try very, very quickly. So, unless an agent has serious bodily harm, and they’re bleeding or cut or shot, getting a prosecution through the U.S. Attorney’s Office is very, very challenging,” Scott said.
Under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lonestar, Lt. Chris Olivarez says DPS troopers have made more than 25,000 criminal arrests.
Within two weeks, there have been two use of force incidents involving Border Patrol agents in the Eagle Pass area where a human smuggler behind the wheel allegedly tried to run over agents during traffic stops. In both instances, the agents fired gunshots. In one of the incidents, a female driver was hurt and taken to the hospital. Both incidents are currently under review by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility and other law enforcement agencies.
Meanwhile, Scott says he still encourages agents to file the paperwork if they are assaulted while on the job— so that if that person assaults another agent, it will help build the case to get the prosecution in the future.