Society

Immigrant Deaths Tax The Resources Of Brooks County In Texas

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After 129 bodies belonging to immigrants who were attempting to make the trek from Mexico across the border were discovered in a Texas county last year, 76 bodies have already been found this year.

Brooks County traditionally only used to see around 60 bodies turn up, but a number of contributing factors have caused that number to dramatically increase.

Officials believe that immigrants are attempting to cross the border at points that are located deep in southern Texas instead of using traditional entry points in Arizona. That shift is putting a strain on local governments that are inexperienced in such matters and don’t necessarily have the budget flexibility to adequately address the situation.

"There are some counties that have the economic wherewithal to take on these issues, and there are other counties that just don't have any money, so that puts them into a real bad bind," said Raquel Rubio Goldsmith, coordinator of the University of Arizona’s Binational Migration Institute, a facility that researches immigration issues.

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In order to help deal with the identification of bodies, Brooks County’s chief deputy will now be transporting all remains 90 miles to Webb County for DNA sampling by driving them there himself.

The manager of El Tule Ranch, Lavoyger Durham, recently installed a 55-gallon water station in order to prevent immigrants who cross onto the property from dying of thirst. He estimates he's found 25 bodies on the property in the past 23 years, Newser reported.

"I'm trying to expose the killing fields of Brooks County," Durham said. "If dead human beings don't catch your attention, what the hell else is going to? We're just trying to be human about it."

Sources: Newser, USA Today