On the ground with Border Patrol agents working without pay

Border Patrol agents keep working without pay

Lukeville, Ariz. — As the government shutdown continues, Border Patrol agents are working without pay because they're considered essential employees. In Arizona, CBS News saw the challenges they face.

A group of 180 migrants were apprehended by Arizona border agents Wednesday morning. Fernando Grijalva said the area has become a hotbed for illegal crossing.

"I've seen six different presidents at the time that I've been with the Border Patrol and this is the worst crisis that I've seen," he said.

Grijalva said patrols are dangerous, but that hasn't stopped him or other agents from doing their jobs, despite not being paid because of the shutdown.

"They know that we have a job to do," he said.

There's already a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico in Nogales, Arizona. Just on the other side is a major highway. Buses come by and drop off groups of migrants that walk right into the U.S.

Last year, border agents apprehended 52,000 people in this area alone, an increase of more than 1,000 apprehensions a month over the previous year. Many are women and children.

Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino said adding to the border wall, which his city has had for more than 20 years, would be ineffective.

"We do not need a wall in Nogales," he said. "We need technology."

On Monday, surveillance cameras near Yuma, Arizona, captured more than 100 migrants who scaled a wall with the help of a ladder. Last week, more than 300 asylum seekers in San Luis were arrested after they burrowed under a steel barrier.

Despite some lapses in the wall, Grijalva believes they still work.

"Operationally I can tell that you without a physical barrier at border patrol we have a very tough time succeeding," he said.

  • Mireya Villarreal

    Mireya Villarreal is a CBS News correspondent.