I did not know what to expect and would have done a few things differently. He did not get to the films till late in the program and they were really secondary to the presentation. It was mostly question and answer. Do not get me wrong as it was an excellent and informative program. Next time I would have the lights on until it was time for the films with someone standing by to shut off the lights when needed. Also I would have someone running around with a hand mike to get the questions said over the speakers. I did not have trouble hearing them but I understand some did. I will list some of the answers here that I remember:
1.Is it safe to go to Progreso? First and foremost it is NOT safe to go to Mexico. It is not safe to be within a mile of the river. It is not safe at Riverside. It is not safe at Chimney Park. It is not safe at Progreso. He stressed this adamantly and often.
He said the military, government and cartels are all in conflict with each other in Mexico and as long as that is true it is not safe to step foot on Mexican soil anywhere, anytime. He says it will not change in the foreseeable future.
2.Where is it the worst area for border crossings? McAllen has become the hotspot on the border. It has been various cities in the past like El Paso , Laredo and Brownsville but currently it is McAllen. Last weekend they processed 500-600 illegals from Friday night to Monday morning and that is a typical weekend. During the week it will be in the neighborhood of 60. The majority of those are NOT from Mexico. They are mostly from Guatemala, El Salvidor and other Central and South American countries but also from countries all over the world. He also mentioned China. The Mexicans who do come are mostly carrying drugs or trying to escape the war.
3.What are the requirements to be a Border Patrol Agent? Border Patrol Agents can be no older than 37 to go to the academy and it is mandatory retirement at age 57. They start out at $50,000 approx a year and after a few years make about $100,000 a year. They currently have 500 agents at the McAllen station and need two times that many more. It is a very stressful job and their life expectancy suffers too.
4. Who catches more illegals Border Patrol or Ports of entry? Border patrol by far. He said they have to be crazy or desperate to try to get through at Ports of Entry.
5. What happens to them after they are apprehended? It depends on what is discovered about the individual during processing. If they have a record it can involve jail and/or prison time. If the individuals are from a country other than Mexico they may sit for months waiting for enough of their fellow countrymen to pile up to fill a plane to return them to their country of origin. They will not send people from countries other than Mexico back to or through Mexico. The days of apprehending the same Mexican fellow three times in one shift are over. That does not happen anymore due to the new system of appearing before a judge for processing and the funneling of them into different categories.