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Tucson sector's new Border Patrol chief, his philosophy on border security

Posted at 5:48 PM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-22 13:34:28-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Southern Arizona has a new Border Patrol chief for the Tucson sector.

Newly instated chief Roy Villareal's background in border safety and foreign affairs goes back to when he first started his career 30 years ago.

He said the state of border security is fluid. The evolution he's seen in his three-decades has shown him the type of threat at the border changes year to year.

"Fast forward to 2014, the dynamics of the border threat have changed tremendously. From the perspective at: we were designed to, equipped to handle a migratory population that was principally single adults with a very quick turn around," said Villareal.

Villareal explained how these recent years are the first time border security has had a big spotlight on families.

"Where it's overwhelming our system today is that, like I mentioned, we're not prepared for it. Our facilities weren't designed to house families. We weren't prepared for the influx of people that need medical care. Its pushed us to a breaking point. We don't have adequate detention facilities. And I challenge you to find a law enforcement entity that is tasked with arresting families, housing children," said Villareal.

He went on to discuss that in today's times, technology is shifting the way border patrol responds. Social media is a huge force, he said, that changes the dynamic of what agents are seeing at the border.

"When you think about the caravan that came up in Oct/Nov. That was one of the first times that we've witness social media driving illegal migration. Social media organizing a caravan, a flow of illegal migration to the U.S. Border. And now we've witnessed that being replicated three, four, five times. Unfortunately, I think that's going to continue," said Villareal.

With having worked in other locations like San Diego and in Yuma, he said he's currently assessing how border security differs in Tucson.

"As I begin to learn more about the environment, because its easy to say I'd like 261 miles of border fencing. Its not realistic, its not what we need. So my goal is to learn the environment, the needs, the threat," said Villareal.