UPDATED 10:30 AM PT — Friday, February 1, 2019
Border Patrol agents are carrying out crowd control exercises along the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico this week. According to officials, the agents are part of a mobile response team trained to be deployed wherever there is a need for the extra security and force along the border.
“What we are preparing for, what we are training for is when there is a large group of people, when lots of people come to try and enter the United States illegally, especially if they come in using violence — when this is done with violence then one needs to be prepared for this type of event,” said Ramiro Cordero, a spokesperson for U.S. Border Patrol.
A Border Patrol official said the drills included multiple teams that don’t normally operate together such as their mobile response team and horse patrol unit. Also new to the exercise was the incorporation of U.S. Air and Marine Operations along with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Officials explained this type of training is necessary to test the capabilities of the different law enforcement agencies.
“What we have today is just our mobile response team preparing for anything that could and may happen here at the border land,” said Border Patrol Agent Fidel Baca. “That’s what this is supposed to signify, by us working with other border agencies, we can show that everybody can work on the same page — anything, any kinks that we need to work on, we need to fix, we can address them here, find out what they are and when we go back to our training we can fix them.”
Border Patrol agents also carried out training drills at the Otay Mesa Port of entry in San Diego. It’s one of the busiest commercial crossings on the U.S.-Mexico border. The agency said the drills were carried out or order for agents to be ready “to ensure the facilitation of lawful trade and travel.”
This all comes as thousands of Central American migrants in Mexico continue their journey toward the U.S. Officials in Mexico City said around 2,400 migrants left a shelter in the capital Thursday to begin their trek to the U.S. border.
Mexico recently announced that it was suspending a program to fast-track humanitarian visas for the migrants. The latest numbers from Mexico’s Institute of National Migration show more than 15,000 people applied for the visas, including nearly 3,000 minors. More than 6,800 visas have been granted so far.