According to the Texas Department of Safety, there was a rise in human smuggling attempts from charter planes landing at small private airports in Rio Grande Valley in the past 30 days.
“They don’t use the larger airports where TSA is present,” stated Lieutenant Christopher Olivarez, Texas Highway Patrol Staff. These are smaller airports that don’t have security measures for private planes. It is difficult to monitor every airport.
The Texas DPS stopped 12 illegal immigrants from smuggling human beings via private charter on August 31. On September 23, 19 illegal immigrants were involved in another similar attempt to smuggle by Texas DPS.
DPS intercepted another attempt to smuggle human beings by plane on the afternoon of October 2. This involved six illegal immigrants and one U.S citizen female. One of the illegal immigrants detained was a Mexican citizen, who was wanted in a Wisconsin child sexual assault case.
Olivarez partly blamed the rise in plane smuggling on the increased number of migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. He stated, “But what’s special is… you must understand the distinction between the people being smuggled onto planes — these are people who were not processed. These are people trying to avoid detection.
Olivarez clarified that charter pilots who are hired to fly these flights are not required by law to verify the citizenship of passengers. They are required to match passengers’ names with the manifest list.
Olivarez said that pilots don’t always know what’s going on. Olivarez stated, “They are just told, Okay, I’m going charter this plane. We will pick up these many passengers at this airport and take them to this one. That’s it.”
Frank Lopez Jr., a retired Customs and Border Protection agent, and Texas congressional hopeful, also questions the use of private airports and charters.
“My question is: Who can afford a private plane?” “Even just a propeller,” Lopez said. “I have seen pictures of the aircraft being used. Who can afford this? Who are the people involved in this? Are these just your regular illegal aliens? Is there something more? Are they more valuable than the average package?
Illegal immigrants who are not processed by CBP are known as “getaways”. Fox News reports that more than 500,000 illegal immigrants were captured on cameras, but they managed to bypass agents.