Tucson Sector limits communication amid high flow of migrants

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FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, file photo, suspected undocumented immigrants are moved out of the holding area after being processed at the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

By Cameron Arcand | The Center Square

The Tucson Sector of the border is dealing with a high number of migrant encounters, and United States Customs and Border Protection has opted to limit communication to the public as the situation continues.

The sector faced 15,300 apprehensions, 78 “federal criminal cases, and 14 “human smuggling events” last week, sector Chief Patrol Agent John R. Modlin posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, at the time.

On Sunday, Modlin announced that the sector’s social media, which is a crucial way that the agency communicates to the public about smuggling arrests, drug busts, and other notable activity, would be paused as they deal with the ongoing situation.

However, the now-deleted post led to swift backlash, so Modlin posted a clarifying statement saying they would still be doing their “Week in Review” posts that revealed key statistics about apprehensions and drug seizures, for example.

“Apologies for my earlier hastily written statement. To be clear, it is my intention to remain transparent,” he said. “In light of the ongoing migration surge, all Tucson Sector Border Patrol social media accounts will be temporarily reduced to maximize our available staffing in support of our current operational challenges.”

“At this time, all available personnel are needed to address the unprecedented flow. The social media team will return once the situation permits,” Modlin continued. “We will continue to post our Week in Review statistics, demonstrating the continued efforts of our agents and staff.”

In a statement to The Center Square, CBP explained their decision further.

“Border Patrol field leaders determine how to prioritize and best deploy personnel and resources under their command, including generating local social media content. CBP is always committed to transparency and accountability, and local social media accounts are only one tool we use to provide information to the public,” they stated.

“While certain accounts managed by uniformed Agents at the local level may be utilized less frequently during this time, CBP will maintain its unwavering focus on sharing timely and accurate information with the public,” the law enforcement agency continued.

Newsnation reported Monday morning that a checkpoint in Nogales is shut down due to a lack of staff to handle the legal opening. The Center Square reported in September that resources were being shifted away from legal ports of entry to handle migrants crossing illegally, which led to high wait times for vehicle traffic. 

Many small southern Arizona communities, like Lukeville, Arizona, are dealing with the high amount of foot traffic of migrants. The town was seeing migrants from South America and Africa Monday morning, KGUN reported. 

In October, the Tucson Sector dealt with 55,224 encounters, according to CBP data. This was much higher than any sector, even Del Rio and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.