Arrests of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States have nearly tripled in recent months — in anticipation of Congressional efforts to enact comprehensive immigration legislation, border patrol agents told CBS News Wednesday.

“Once the first group gets across, they call their family, they call their friends and let them know, ‘Hey the time is right, come on over,’” Border Patrol agent and union representative Chris Cabrera told CBS News.

In March, 7,500 illegals were arrested in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas — which includes McAllen — Cabrera told CBS News. That’s up from 2,800 in January.

In February, nearly 4,800 illegals were arrested in the Rio Grande, the local news website The Monitor.com reports.

In fact, agents in McAllen used their station’s carport to process nearly 900 illegals caught over three days in March, according to the Monitor.com.

And border patrol agents have become so concerned about overcrowding and unsanitary conditions that they’ve complained to local and federal officials, the Monitor.com reports.

Many illegals are caught while traveling through the brush between Hidalgo and Sullivan City in Texas, a winding 30-mile stretch of the Rio Grande.

It’s popular with immigrants, who speed across the Rio Grande and assimilate into the small towns along the border, the Monitor.com reports.

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