Since 2009, 354 immigrants have been found dead in this county.
“This is not a way to die,” he said.
Each one costs local taxpayers a couple thousand dollars for recovery, body bag, and autopsy.
It got so expensive last year that the sheriff’s office ran out of money for gas. So for the first time, deputies are trying to do something.
“The total for the last 60 months has reached $628,172.98,” Martinez said.
That’s almost the sheriff’s office’s entire annual budget.
Next month, the county will send the Texas Congressional delegation a letter essentially begging for reimbursement.
“My argument is, why do people have to die for someone to help us?” asked Brooks County Judge Raul Ramirez.
Oil and gas revenues have declined for years, but the expensive costs of dead immigrants have pushed the county’s checkbook further into the red.
Every county office has taken a 20 percent budget cut, each employee has lost three percent of his or her pay, and the county stopped paying for health care and benefits of employees’ families.