Yuma Sector Border Patrol officials released surveillance video showing a border bandit robbing migrants as they attempt to enter illegally into the United States. According to the Border Patrol, the recently released video captured a June incident that captured a group of migrants entering the United States illegally and their encounter with an armed bandit lying in wait.
Infrared security cameras installed and monitored by the Border Patrol captured the armed assault of the migrant group by the bandit. The group of men, women, and children are held at gunpoint and forced to surrender personal belongings. The video shows the migrants complying with the bandits’ orders to surrender bags containing what few belongings they carried.
The bandit situation is not a new phenomenon to the southern border. Since the inception of the Border Patrol in the 1920s, Border Patrol agents battled for control of the border landscape to prevent bandits from committing armed robbery, rape, and murder — sometimes in broad daylight.
In the 1980s, near San Diego, California, armed bandits roamed almost freely each night as hundreds of migrants made the trek to seek work in the booming agricultural industry in Southern California. The Border Patrol established a border bandit task force to enter the canyons near San Ysidro, California in an effort to reduce bandit activity.
In the years that followed, Border Patrol staffing increases, and the deployment of lighting, fencing, and other tactical infrastructure reduced the level of migrant crimes carried out by the bandits on U.S. soil. As the video demonstrates, however, the problem has not been completely eradicated.
The bandit ultimately returned to Mexican soil and attempts by law enforcement on both sides of the border to apprehend the bandit were unsuccessful. During the current border surge, aside from the threat of robbery or worse at the hands of a border bandit, migrants face uncertain fate at the hands of cartel smugglers and the inhospitable conditions along the southern border.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.