FALFURRIAS, Texas–A sign at the entrance to the Falfurrias Checkpoint of the U.S. Border Patrol proudly states the capture of 27,206 illegal aliens this year. It is interesting to note, the Falfurrias Checkpoint is located in Brooks County, Texas which is not a border county.
This checkpoint is located about eighty miles from the Texas/Mexico border and yet Border Patrol agents managed to apprehend well over 27,000 immigrants who have entered the country illegally. That represents nearly one hundred fifty people every single day this year.
This checkpoint puts a severe financial strain on the officials of Brooks County, Texas who must deal with the budgetary impact of extra services the county must provide as a direct result of checkpoint and related border patrol activities. Because Brooks County is not designated as a “border county” they are not eligible for federal and state grants and other funding that is otherwise available to counties actually located on the border.
Many of these expenses come in the form of increased law enforcement support. County deputies are often called out by the Border Patrol to pick up vehicles that are used in human smuggling when the occupants “bail out” from the vehicle. Additionally, because many of the illegal aliens wander off and get lost in the ranch fields of Brooks County, they often die from lack of water and heat exhaustion.
When this happens, county officials must process the death as a crime scene and the county picks up the expenses of burial of the corpse or what is left of it. This comes at a cost to the county of about $2,500 per body according to Brooks County Chief Deputy Benny Martinez.
These costs, born by the poorest county in the state of Texas, have force pay cuts for county employees, loss of health benefits and a reduction in the size of the law enforcement arm of the Sheriff’s Office. The county now has only one deputy per shift to cover 1,000 square miles (nearly the size of the State of Rhode Island).
Breitbart Texas has had the opportunity to ride along with some of the volunteer police officers who are giving their off-duty time from other law-enforcement jobs in South Texas to help the county fill the void its budget cannot meet. These off-duty police officers have formed a tax-exempt organization called the Border Brotherhood of Texas to recruit and equip these volunteers to safely provide assistance to Brooks County.
During the rides, Breitbart Texas has witnessed the time required by county officials and first responders to assist the Border Patrol in their duties which are an essential part of our border security program, yet the county bears this national security cost on its own shoulders.
Chief Martinez suggested to Breitbart Texas that perhaps counties that include a border security checkpoint should also be designated as a border county and be eligible for the funds available for the other counties. “When you compare the numbers of illegal immigrants captured in Brooks County to actual border counties, our numbers stack up very well,” Martinez told Breitbart Texas.
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.