South Texas Ranchers tell Sen. Cornyn border is not secure
by Nadia Galindo

Posted: 05.06.2013 at 12:16 AM
Senator John Cornyn visited Brooks County today to hear issues ranchers and authorities in the area are facing with the influx of immigrants making their way 60 miles north of the border.

“We’ve rescued them, they are on the verge of dying out here and we’ve rescued hundreds of them,” rancher Dr. Mike Vickers said.

Mike and his wife Linda Vickers live minutes from the Falfurrias checkpoint, making their land a popular crossing for illegal immigrants.

“We’re running about a hundred a month and this is just a little quarter mile of fence line,” Linda said.

The couple finds clothing, trash, water jugs and evidence of human smugglers are on their property daily.

“Some of the ranchers in this county have been threatened, don’t call the Border Patrol, if you see people on your property,” Mike said.

Smugglers also destroy fencing and water pumps costing the Vickers thousands of dollars each year.

Senator Cornyn heard the concerns of the Vickers and several other ranchers today at a meeting with Brooks County elected officials and the South Texans’ Property Rights Association.

County officials told Senator Cornyn they need money and resources to control what some call an invasion of illegal immigrants and drug trafficking.

“The threat of danger is imminent to everybody in this county because of what is happening here, this is gang related,” Mike said.

Brooks County Sheriff Department rescued 659 illegal immigrants, who were abandoned by smugglers on private property last year and found about 129 bodies.

With the numbers of illegal immigrants increasing, the rural county is struggling to pay for equipment and needs money to hire additional law enforcement.

Many ranchers said the solution to the problem is to tighten security on the border, adding more border patrol agents.

Sen. Cornyn mentioned a workers permit program which would allow immigrants to work legally in the country, which he said would prevent immigrants from ending up in the hands of smugglers.

The Vickers like many of the ranchers at the meeting insist a solution is needed now.

“I hope somebody starts listening and I hope our county starts getting help, we’re overwhelmed,” Linda said.