A Texas Border Tour
“It’s a hundred times worse than what they’re seeing on the news.”
Brooks County—A few miles south of the Border Patrol check station, where the western boundary of King Ranch’s Encino Division meets the northbound side of State Highway 281, the otherwise perfect fence sags from the weight of undocumented aliens—UDAs, in the parlance of the Brooks County Sheriff’s Department—who bail out of vehicles and cross into the brush to hike around the check station for pickup a few miles up the road. From there, they travel to Houston, Dallas, or other cities to the north.
Jorge Esparza, a commander in the Brooks County Sheriff’s Department, pointed to the little median rest stop. “At night, they cross and try to disappear into the trees and then jump into vehicles.” He recounted stories of people piling into trunks and busted drivers claiming they were just sitting there when all these people jumped in. Consistent with media reports that “crossings” had decreased since President Trump’s Title 42 health order ended five days prior, Esparza said that things along the Highway 281 corridor had been “easier.” But he was not at all sure that the local lull reflected an actual drop in the number of UDAs crossing the Rio Grande. He felt certain that when UDA traffic thinned in one place, it would soon pick up in another, if it hadn’t already.