- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Even though illegal immigration is down, violence along the border is up, with assaults on U.S. Border Patrol agents nearly doubling so far in 2017, the agency’s head told Congress on Wednesday.

Agents have reported more than 550 assaults through June 1, up from 300 assaults at the same time last year, said Carla Provost, the acting chief of the Border Patrol.

She recounted the statistics as a warning during testimony on gang activity among the illegal immigrant population. She didn’t speculate on what might be spurring the rise in assaults, but it comes as the immigration debate in the U.S. — and Mexico — heats up under President Trump.

Border Patrol agents face one of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement, officials say.

“Rocking” incidents, in which those on the Mexican side of the border toss large boulders over the fence to try to injure agents, are common.

The issue has even bled into the debate over Mr. Trump’s proposed border wall.

Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees the Border Patrol, is looking for plans that would allow visibility through to the Mexican side, which helps prevent ambush attacks.

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