The nation has its eyes on the growing caravan crisis in Tijuana, Mexico along the San Diego southern border, but Border Patrol agents and ICE officers warn that tens of thousands of migrants have been apprehended along the other Border Patrol sectors over the past several months and thousands more may have evaded law enforcement to enter the United States illegally.

Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley have seen a surge over the past several months, roughly 5,000 migrants a week have been apprehended along the sectors more than 320 mile border, said Chris Cabrera, Vice President of the Union’s local 3307 Rio Grande Vally Sector. The Rio Grande Valley sector, which is comprised of roughly 19 counties within 17,000 square miles of land is one of the most trafficked corridors along the U.S. Mexico border. Cabrera also noted that 2,700 people were being held last week at the McAllen station, which is made to hold roughly 242 people. Cabrera said issues regarding the medical condition of the migrants, as well as other security issues, have created an overwhelming situation for law enforcement and the community.

What we are seeing in California, Texas and points in between is unacceptable

“There is a definite concern with the ongoing incidents across the southwest border in regards to the caravan,” said Cabrera. Illegal entries have increased at most sectors along the southwest. In the Rio Grande Valley we have seen as many as 5,000 plus per week since the beginning of the fiscal year.”

Cabrera says the caravan has spread out across the border from Texas to California and tells that immigration loopholes have been exploited since 2014.

“The loopholes need to be closed, and those violating our laws need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. What we are seeing in California, Texas and points in between is unacceptable,” he said.

The migrants also face daunting circumstances. The terrain along can be extremely dangerous for migrants who misjudge the strength of the river currents as they cross the Rio Grande River into the U.S. and many have died trying to make the trek that is almost always organized by human smugglers and drug cartels operating in the area.

Cabrera, along with other federal law enforcement officials, say their agents are under assault by some of the migrants in the caravan and many of the women and children who are crossing have had to deal with dangerous and often terrible treatment by the cartels.

The Trump administration and law enforcement were criticized this past week for using tear gas on members of the caravan when roughly 1000 of them tried to rush the San Ysidro Port of Entry from Tijuana and pelted rocks at Border Patrol agents. U.S. law enforcement took 42 illegal immigrants into custody and the Mexican government said it had deported 98 migrants who rushed the border and assaulted officials.

Gerardo Garcia Benavente, from Mexico’s migration office, said: “98 foreigners were returned to their country last night following the violent incident at the border post,” according to a report from the BBC.

On Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, issued a lengthy statement on the circumstances that led to the use of tear gas and the growing crisis.  She said the “caravan members are predominately male. It appears in some cases that the limited number of women and children in the caravan are being used by the organizers as ‘human shields’ when they confront law enforcement. They are being put at risk by the caravan organizers as we saw at the Mexico-Guatemala border. This is putting vulnerable people in harms way.”

Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen provided the following statement regarding the recent crisis on our southern border. “Given…

Posted by Department of Homeland Security on Monday, November 26, 2018

Nielsen also stressed that the U.S. cannot “confirm the backgrounds and identities of all caravan members which possess a national security and public safety risk to our country. However, at this point we have confirmed that there are over 600 convicted criminals traveling with the caravan flow. This includes individuals known to law enforcement for assault, battery, drug crimes, burglary, rape child abuse and more.”

It’s not just the Rio Grande Valley and Tijuana seeing increases in illegal immigrant traffic. Former Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement Director Tom Homan, said the increase in human trafficking is across the board and as the migrants in the caravan face mounting pressure in Tijuana, a large number of them have broken off and headed to Mexicali.

The migrants know how to work our system. They are showing up with children in an effort to get in…

For example, In Mexicali, 90 miles East of the Tijuana border and south of Calexico, “approximately 2,000” migrants from the caravan are amassing, said Homan, who like Cabrera, said there is not enough public attention to the crisis in other border sectors.

This year alone, assaults on border enforcement officials have increased 40 percent and border crossings are up 70 to 90 percent, Homan added.

In Yuma, Arizona the situation it appears to be much of the same, as Border Patrol agents are seeing an increase in illegal crossings, according to several officials who spoke to this reporter.

“This shouldn’t be just about Tijuana and the caravan,” said a federal law enforcement official in Arizona, who added that Yuma’s small station was holding roughly 400 illegal migrants. “The migrants know how to work our system. They are showing up with children in an effort to get in because as a family unit they know the odds are almost 100 percent we’ll set them loose. Women with boys and men with girls. We can’t really hold them and don’t have the facilities to hold them so they get released. Bus loads of them get released here in Arizona daily – I’m certain they’re doing the same across the other border sectors.”