By Mark Stine - email
Tucson, AZ (KOLD) - KOLD News 13 rides along with Border Patrol agents after the sun goes down. It's a side of the immigration debate we rarely get to see or hear.
Intense moments in the Southern Arizona desert as Border Patrol agents move in and round up nearly a dozen illegal immigrants.
One of them, Victor Hugo, tells us his story.
How many times have you been caught? We asked Victor.
Victor tells us in Spanish, "This is the first time I've been caught trying to cross the border."
Victor tells us he's crossing the border to work. "Because over there you don't earn as much as here," he explained.
What do you think of Arizona's new immigration law? We asked through a translator.
"Well, it's unfortunate, but soon it'll be your law in effect and we'll just have to try to come in through somewhere else," Victor said.
Earlier in the night, before the bust back at Border Patrol's Papago Base Camp. Agents with the Horse Patrol Unit load up their horses and head out for their overnight shift. Meanwhile, another agent sitting inside guides them through the dark desert using infrared cameras.
Our crew hops in with Agent Eric Cantu and head out and wait for any word of illegal activity.
The West desert area is remote and isolated, making an ideal corridor for smuggling people and drugs through the Southern Arizona Desert.
When the call of illegal traffic moving through the desert goes out to agents at 11pm, the agents move in and the immigrants scatter into the darkness.
After about an hour of searching through the desert, the Border Patrol Agents track down 11 illegal immigrants. They say it's about half the group they'd been tracking.
"We would like to have got all of them," Agent David Meza told KOLD News 13. "But due to terrain and things like that, it doesn't always happen, but half is definitely better than zero."
Victor Hugo says he's been walking for more than two days. He's crossing through Arizona, but doesn't plan on staying.
"San Francisco," he tells us is his destination.
Victor says he was headed to California to meet up with other family members.
"My entire family is over there, they've all crossed," he explained.
But with S.B. 1070 set to go into effect next week, the road to his family might be getting a lot longer.
"It doesn't help, it doesn't help anyone," he says while handcuffed with the other illegal immigrants. "I don't think it'll help Arizona itself to be without immigrants."
Law or no law, Victor says he's still going to try and come back. "I want to get across because my family comes before anything else."
The group of illegal border crosser's gets loaded up into the Border Patrol trucks and soon will be bussed back to Mexico, only to turn around and possibly end up in this very same chase again soon.
Let us know what you think about Victor's story and Border Patrol After Dark. You can comment below.
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