LaVoyger Durham

Group aims to curb South Texas migrant deaths with water stations

By Mark Collette / Corpus Christi Caller-Times

BROOKS COUNTY — For the first time, an aid group is deploying water stations in the Brooks County brush in an effort to prevent migrant deaths, and finding creative ways to work with private ranchers who don’t usually fling the gates wide for outsiders. It’s a fledgling movement — only two stations are in place so far — but the rising interest from human rights groups is another indicator of the mounting death toll. It is also a sign of Brooks County’s emergence as a kind of new Sonoran Desert, where water stations have long been a fixture in southern Arizona. As migration patterns and U.S. border enforcement strategies have changed, the migrant trail has shifted, too, leading them on foot through the county’s barren, 944 square miles of private ranches to avoid the Border Patrol checkpoint south of Falfurrias. Nearly 80 bodies have been recovered in the county in 2013, approaching the record 129 in 2012.

Destino: Georgia

Por Mario Guevara

La frontera entre México y Estados Unidos en Texas se convirtió este año en el área con mayor número de arrestos de indocumentados en EE.UU., superando a la de Arizona, que por dos décadas fue la que más detenciones registró. MundoHispánico viajó hasta esa zona fronteriza para indagar sobre este fenómeno, especialmente porque una buena parte de los inmigrantes que tratan de cruzar ilegalmente planean llegar a Georgia y los estados vecinos, según reportes de las autoridades federales. “Muy pocos son los que buscan quedarse aquí, porque la mayoría creen que tendrán mejor oportunidades de hallar trabajo yendo más hacia el norte”, aseguró a este medio Ramiro Cordero, uno de los portavoces de la Patrulla Fronteriza en Texas y quien está destacado en El Paso. Una de las personas que venían rumbo a Georgia y que fue descubierta recientemente atravesando la frontera en busca del ‘sueño americano’ fue Reina Martínez, de 20 años. La joven nativa de El Salvador llevaba un mes presa en un centro de detención en Texas, hasta que Inmigración le concedió la libertad bajo la condición de comparecer ante un juez.

A grandson hugs his grandfather after both were apprehended by Border Patrol in Hidalgo, Texas. (Mónica Ortiz Uribe/Fronteras)

Illegal crossings increasingly deadly along South Texas border

By Mónica Ortiz Uribe

A costly game of cat and mouse unfolds nightly along the banks of the Rio Grande in South Texas. The number of immigrants crossing illegally there has doubled in the last four years, making it the busiest section along the Southwest border. As night fell outside Mission, Texas in late August the Rio Grande looked deceivingly peaceful under the glimmer of a full moon. Suddenly through a pair of night vision goggles, a Border Patrol agent spotted movement. He picked up his radio.

The Border Patrol plays sleight-of-hand with the cost of capturing immigrants

I live in Rio Rico, Arizona, which is about 16 miles north of the USA’s border with Mexico. Where, recently, on a sunny Sunday morning during a walk with my dogs in the usually tranquil Santa Cruz River Valley below my home, I heard the drone of an airplane. Irritated, I looked up to see a Border Patrol (BP) plane drop down to circle a mile or so south of a Union Pacific Railroad crossing. At once, I knew a drama would soon unfold.  Sure enough, within 15 minutes, three BP vans sped up.

Border Patrol officer, Ralph Gomez, talks to reporter Seok Kang at the international border. (Christopher Karadjov/

A Day with Border Patrol Agents in El Paso, TX

EL PASO, Texas — Border patrol agents deal with everyday conflicts and apprehensions in the border areas. Chris Karadjov, Donna Pazdera, and Seok Kang tagged along with two border patrol agents, Joe Romero and Ralph Gomez. Contrary to what non-border residents may think, the boundary between the United States and Mexico is not a straight line or a simple division between the two places. The border bisects desert, mountains and urban areas. Each type of terrain calls for simple fencing in desert areas, tall steel mesh in more populated areas and plain rocks markers in mountainous areas or open desert, for example.

Borderline Lesson – An Austrian Sees a Third Country on the U.S. Mexico Border

GRAZ, Austria — In my degree thesis I tried to present El Paso as a political nation-state buffer zone between Mexico and the United States, an unconventional view of the Sun City sparked by the near-omnipresence of the Border Patrol. Everything started with naïve questions to my Mexican-American roommate regarding the Border Patrol. I would sometimes see them eat tacos at the table next to mine – in the first couple of weeks after my arrival in El Paso in August 2007. What were they doing? What were they after?

Border Patrol Agents Numbers Increase Along U.S. Borders

EL PASO, Texas — The Border Patrol numbers of federal agents has grown to about 11,000 since the year 2007, this number has tripled since the tragic events of 9/11 according to the agency’s website. One of President George W. Bush’s final acts in office was to push the bill containing the budget request for the U.S. Border Patrol which totaled just fewer than $11 billion of tax payers money. With more funding, the U.S. borders have seen a sudden increase in the numbers of agents patroling high traffic areas. Just in The El Paso/Las Cruces area about 400 new agents were hired for the stations of the El Paso sector which are located in El Paso, Fabens, Fort Hancock, Ysleta, Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Deming, Las Cruces, Lordsburg, Truth or Consequences, and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Drug busts have yielded about 100 tons of illegal narcotics since this sudden increase in funding for the Border Patrol nationwide, with big contributions coming out of the El Paso sector.