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Wall Debate Continues To Build Along Texas-Mexico Border

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RIO GRANDE VALLEY (CBSDFW.COM) – The Rio Grande Valley region of the Texas-Mexico border is one of the most illegally crossed sections in the United States.

"You can see these little trails coming out here. There are still a lot of people that are trying to get away," said Deputy Spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council, Chris Cabrera about the 300-mile stretch of land.

Cabrera is "100 percent in favor" of President Trump's proposed border wall; saying it will make his job "more manageable."

Every day at least 500 to 700 immigrants cross into the U.S. illegally through the area near Hidalgo in the Rio Grande Valley despite the fences, according to Cabrera.

Many of the undocumented immigrants who are caught, processed, and given temporary permission to stay end up at the Humanitarian Respite Center run by the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

The non-profit gives them clean clothes, feeds them and hand them a bus ticket to their final destination in the U.S.

One immigrant who spoke to CBS 11, Reyna Alvarez just crossed over from Guatemala with her 7-year-old daughter Wendy. Alvarez said she's fleeing gang violence. She admitted knowing that some undocumented immigrants cross the border for nefarious reasons, but that isn't the case for her. Tearfully she said, "we shouldn't all be labeled that way."

So-called labeling just isn't accurate, according to many who are helping people fleeing across the border into the states. People like Sister Norma Pimentel with Catholic Charities Rio Grande Valley, who said, "I think that we need to help whatever is causing the families to come here to begin with."

Pimentel opposes the border wall on the grounds it will do little to deter those coming to the U.S. in hopes of saving their lives. "I don't see it being a solution," she said.

However, from a law enforcement perspective Cabrera said it's essential to stopping people who cross illegally and many times end up in North Texas.

"That's one of the first questions we ask them is 'where are you headed,' and they tell us 'we're headed to Dallas, we're headed to Arlington, we're headed to McKinney'… they come out by name and tell us these places."

Cabrera said many immigrants favor North Texas because they feel it's a region with sanctuary cities that provides them protection from deportation.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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