There is no denying the migrant influx at the South Texas border has put local law enforcement in compromised positions as they face the increased cases as undocumented immigrants travel north from the southern border.
Jim Wells County Sheriff Daniel Bueno reported 94 undocumented immigrants have been turned over to the U.S. Border Control since January, that number is roughly a 20-25 percent increase from last year.
“The 94 migrants turned over to border control do not account for the ones that got away,” Bueno said. “We had 12 get away just last week. I’m telling my officers to use caution and not go on any pursuits once they flee- it’s too dangerous. I don’t want a kid playing somewhere to get hit or our vehicles to get destroyed-once they see us coming it’s dangerous for everyone involved.”
Bueno said his department hasn’t seen an influx of undocumented immigrants in the county like this since 1980s. He wants to see stricter laws and punishment for smugglers.
“I feel for the ranchers that continue to pay out of pocket for the losses in destroyed property. Approximately $100,000 has been reported in torn-down fences and structures destroyed on privately owned property,” Bueno added.
Jim Wells County Judge Juan Rodriguez Jr. was in Austin last week for a conference and had the opportunity to discuss South Texas concerns with area leaders.
“There are currently 600 new laws being voted on and I hope one addresses the property loss due to the border crisis for Texas property owners,” said Rodriguez. “Two new deputies positions have been approved for the Sheriff’s Department and with the court signing the local disaster resolution in June that will put Jim Wells County in better standing for possible funding to help address some of the border issues locally.”
The Jim Wells County Commissioners Court signed a resolution for local disaster arising from border security in response to the influx of undocumented immigrants crossing the South Texas border from Mexico in June. During the commissioners court meeting on Sept. 24, Bueno presented the annual Operation Border Star grant that will help with funds for deputies working overtime.
“I spoke with Brooks county leaders last week and we discussed putting together a coalition with surrounding South Texas counties for leaders to address and apply for resources to help our areas as a whole. I think as South Texans would be more resourceful if we create the means to work together- better on some of these issues,” Rodriguez added.