Texas Checkpoints Drive Immigrants to Dangerous Terrain – And Death | US News

NSJust off the US Highway 281 south of the sand spit in the town of Encino, Brooks County, is a cross made of wind-blown flowers tied to utility poles. Crashed.. A temporary shrine on the extension of a highway deep in southern Texas also has candles, work boots, and a small Mexican flag. All show suspected extreme examples of collateral damage resulting from border security. Law enforcement agencies speculate that Van residents will be dropped to cross the dangerous snake-infested backcountry and bypass the U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoint a few miles north of the accident site.

The Immigration Bureau, called the Falfurrias Border Guard, leaves the busiest part of the 20 sectors of the Immigration Bureau along the US border between Canada and Mexico. Its function is to thwart smugglers and drug traffickers.This landmark is in the center of Missing in Brooks CountyA new documentary detailing the rising death toll that plagues the Mexican border and the logistical challenges of identifying one of the hundreds of migrants who die each year.

Originally opened in 1940 and located 70 miles north of the Rio Grande, Brooks’ Falfurias Station is considered one of the country’s most high-tech checkpoints. Two years ago, the station underwent a $ 30 million renovation. An average of 10,000 vehicles pass the checkpoint daily. The camera takes a picture of the vehicle long before talking to the agent. X-ray equipment can also determine if an immigrant is hiding in a vehicle.

The checkpoint is located in a 1,100-square-mile area of ​​a desolate ranch, famous for its difficult navigation, and is patroled by two sheriff departments. The main road in the region, far east of US 281 is the historic road. King lunch.. The West is an equally rugged country and is usually the preferred route for smugglers to send migrants to avoid checkpoints.

A makeshift monument on Highway 281 deep in southern Texas. Photo: Carlos Sanchez / Guardian

Many people along the US-Mexico border consider the Falfurrian checkpoint to be the true border. My family can spend a lifetime in Hidalgo County, where I live, and get along well without paperwork. However, if you are an immigrant or smuggler, checkpoints should be strictly avoided as deportation and prison tickets can be caught there. This is the place where everyone traveling by road outside southern Texas stops and asks for citizenship.

At some level, having to declare yourself an “American” before embarking on a journey seems like a fairly harmless movement. As a kid living in my hometown of El Paso, I just passed the border guard station and saw uniformed agents, drug detection dogs, and staple foods at checkpoints. It was until I witnessed the fear of older distant relatives traveling with us. They were legally in the country but did not have her paperwork. The agent issued a strict warning to my relatives to pass the checkpoint. However, the incident caused my parents and all the other adults in our car to panic and breathe. I didn’t understand it until they explained to me the deportation.

To date, routine school activities such as excursions to cities such as Corpus Christi and San Antonio, not far from Hidalgo, and high school sporting events are uncertain among school administrators who know there are ample opportunities. Some students are undocumented and may have problems with these checkpoints.

4 years ago, Notorious caseA 10-year-old girl, who was rushed to Corpus Christi’s hospital for emergency surgery from the border city of Laredo by ambulance, was temporarily detained by the border guard because it was not documented. They finally allowed her to go to the hospital, but when the doctor released her from the hospital, she was accompanied by an immigrant agent who stood outside the operating room and detained her.

But the saddest reality of these border guard checkpoints is the number of lives lost when smugglers dumped immigrant customers near roadside memorials along US 281. To meet a smuggler north of the Farfurias checkpoint. I have visited some of this ranch and it has a barren identity that makes it difficult to find your direction.Throw to the relentless south Texas Even a short trip with the sun can be a challenge. But for immigrants, these are not short journeys. They are miles long and often at night in unfamiliar terrain with dangerous wildlife.

Just weeks before the van accident, Lisa Moromot and Jeff Bemis released Missing in Brooks County. This is a five-year odyssey for filmmakers that graphically illustrates the problem, as the number of immigrants slipping into the country has reached its highest level in 20 years. The filmmaker’s intention was to follow Baylor University’s pioneering associate professor of anthropology. He has led efforts to identify hundreds of dead migrants using DNA technology, many of whom are unidentified and buried, and more whose bodies have been torn apart. It is scattered throughout the animals and terrain. But, as Moromot recently told me, the story has become much more complicated, like the problem of immigrants themselves.

Immigrant rights activist Eduardo Canales checks one of his blue drops on May 15, 2021 in Falfurrias, Texas.
Immigrant rights activist Eduardo Canales checks one of his blue drops on May 15, 2021 in Falfurrias, Texas. Photo: Gregory Bull / AP

As the documentary points out, returning to the Clinton administration, which was dealing with its own immigration surge, immigration authorities adopted a new deterrent policy to force immigrants into some of the most dangerous terrains in the United States. .. Like many other deterrence policies, the checkpoint that drives migrants backcountry does not reduce the number of migrants, it only increases the death toll. The film notes that more than 20,000 immigrants have died in the southwestern United States since the policy was enacted in 1994.

With so many lives lost, including much in Brooks County, everything from installing jugs in remote areas of the county to finding and analyzing the DNA of those who died in this relentless manner. The cottage industry of support workers to do was born. Texas region.

This documentary features the rarely seen compassionate role of law enforcement agencies in searching and recovering bodies, and the disguised weight of spending the night in night-vision goggles looking for violators. It interweaves the less compassionate role of armed civilians.

I passed a checkpoint on my way to Austin a few weeks ago. The agent who checked my car looked like a teenager, a newcomer who could be exploited by smugglers looking for checkpoint weaknesses. The agent waved at me when I glanced at my backseat and heard my declaration that I was American. As soon as I drove through the desolate landscape, the car approached 80mph. In 30 minutes, it struck the town of Farfurias, with a population of about 5,000. On foot, in the backcountry, where food and water are limited, the journey is very different.

Carlos Sanchez is the Director of Public Relations in Hidalgo County, Texas. He has been a journalist for 37 years and has worked for The Washington Post, Texas Monthly Magazine, and eight other newsrooms.He can be contacted at

Texas Checkpoints Drive Immigrants to Dangerous Terrain – And Death | US News

Source link Texas Checkpoints Drive Immigrants to Dangerous Terrain – And Death | US News

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