The Rio Grande Valley in Texas is one of the prime pathways that smugglers use when sneaking undocumented immigrants into the U.S.
Smugglers try to avoid public land where the U.S. Border Patrol is normally found, and instead use trails on private property owned by ranchers.
One rancher, who didn't want to reveal his identity for safety reasons, told KRGV that smugglers threaten the lives of ranchers and tell them to keep quiet.
"They have no problem doing whatever it takes to protect them and their organization," said the rancher. "They basically come up to you and say, ‘We are going to give so much a day and we will drop it off and you do what you want with it.'"
U.S. Border Patrol officials say that working with smugglers is a crime and American violators may face federal charges.
Journalist Charlie LeDuff recently shot a video (below) on the Rio Grande River showing how smugglers use jet skis to get undocumented immigrants into the U.S., notes My Fox Detroit.
LeDuff paddled out into the river in an inflatable kayak to shoot footage of the smugglers, one of whom saw him, turned back to Mexico and yelled, "You're costing me money!"
Most of the undocumented immigrants pouring over the U.S.-Mexico border are children, who often do not have a parent with them.
Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol union representative Chris Cabrera says that once the children get into the U.S. they are told by adult immigrants to pretend that they are part of their family.
"You're having unaccompanied children with unaccompanied adults and they're coming together and saying, 'Hey you know what, when we get there, we're going to be a family. You're my uncle and you're my nephew we'll get through the process. Once they release us, we get passed the bus stop, we get passed the check-point then we'll go our separate ways,'" Cabrera told KRGV.
Cabrera says that word is getting out to undocumented immigrants that if they enter as a "family" they have a better chance of staying in the U.S.