Undocumented migrants arrested in the Arizona desert increasingly mount resistance and behave more aggressively during detentions, Border Patrol agents working in the state said.
"In recent years, undocumented immigrants' aggressiveness has increased and that is something we face when we patrol the desert," Art Del Cueto, president of the union representing Border Patrol agents in Arizona, told Efe.
Del Cueto recalled that when he began his career as a Border Patrol agent 12 years ago, during his first arrest of illegal immigrants he alone stopped 80 people and all of them followed his instructions without objection.
"Now, when we stop two or three people, often we find that, at least, one of them is aggressive," he said.
On Dec. 7, the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector reported that one of its officers had been assaulted by a Mexican migrant near the town of Gu Vo.
The agent suffered facial injuries near an eye and required 22 stitches, the Border Patrol said.
The assailant, identified as Carlos Manuel Pena Nieblas, fled and is wanted by U.S. authorities.
"This incident is under investigation and it is another example of the dangers Border Patrol officers face daily," Del Cueto said.
The union leader expressed disappointment because incidents in which officers are assaulted do not receive the same media attention as when the presumptive victim is an undocumented migrant.
The year is coming to a close for the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley Sector in Texas with an FBI investigation of a telephone call to La Joya police notifying them of the supposed abduction of a Border Patrol agent by a Mexican drug cartel.
Last week, at the border crossing in San Ysidro, California, a man with an outstanding arrest warrant was arrested when he tried to cross the border and attacked an agent.
More agents became involved in the brawl and one of them used a taser.
The electric shock left the man unconscious and he later died.
During fiscal year 2014, which ended on Sept. 30, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, registered 373 attacks on Border Patrol agents, with most of them on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Tucson CBP Sector accounted for the largest number of assaults, with 99 incidents, followed by the Rio Grande Valley Sector in Texas, with 89 cases.