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Brooks County law enforcement resources stretched thin with migrant calls

Sheriff Benny Martinez says his deputies have to juggle regular calls with migrant calls
Brooks County Sheriff.jpg
Posted at 6:28 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 19:28:10-04

BROOKS COUNTY, Texas — In May, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested or encountered the most migrants along the Mexican border since 2000, when Customs and Border Protection began tracking those numbers.

In Brooks County, law enforcement agencies are put under a strain, responding to migrant-related calls along with normal patrols.

“You’ve just got to juggle it. The staff has learned to do that. We’re always playing catch-up on calls, because that’s just the way it is,” Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez said.

Martinez said his department works closely with other local law enforcement agencies, like the Falfurrias Police Department, and Border Patrol.

Deputy Jay Arredondo said patrolmen frequent FM 2191 during their patrols, because it is a hot spot for migrant activity.

“As your day goes by, you’re patrolling, just doing our regular traffic stops, patrolling, answering calls," Arredondo said. "In between that, we get information of vehicles that loaded up, or illegals that are asking for help.”

Arredondo said he and his fellow officers have been busy recently, especially in the last few weeks.

“Just what we had this morning, we had a few vehicles that were loading up, and I think DPS got those, and just a while ago, we got some information on some other ones we were trying to locate over there,” Arredondo said.

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President Biden is allowed to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy started in the Trump administration.

If the policy is removed, asylum-seekers would be able to cross the border into the U.S. while waiting on their ruling.

“Finally, people who have been stuck in Mexico for months, or years, will be able to legally present at the border, and be allowed in, and present their asylum claims,” said Natalia Trotter, the supervising attorney of the children’s program for RAICES Corpus Christi. “So, there may be people who are at the border, who have family in Corpus Christi, and they’ll be moving to Corpus Christi to finally be able to legally process their claim in the United States.”

Martinez doesn’t believe the ending of the program will have any affect in his area, and smugglers will still attempt to bring immigrants into the country illegally.

“They’re going to stay on it; that’s what they do,” he said.

However, the Brooks County Sheriff’s Department will continue to work with other local agencies to do their best to combat the problem.

“In our case, we’re just multitasking all the time,” he said. “I’ve been here since ’09, and that’s what we’ve done, and we’ll continue to do that. The work is going to get done, and I think that’s the important thing.”