Zamarripa, 27, is one of 15 reserve deputies brought in to assist the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office, whose four deputies have lately found themselves overwhelmed by 911 calls from migrants stranded on the vast ranches that stretch from here to the horizon in all directions.
Then there are the bodies of migrants who didn’t make it to retrieve and identify: 42 so far this year.
Most attention to the crisis on the Southwest border has focused in recent weeks on the Rio Grande Valley, where many of the 57,000 unaccompanied children and a large number of families have crossed from Mexico since October, twice last year’s total. …
But an unknown number end up here, 70 miles north of the border, in the meadows and scrubland that have become the region’s deadliest killing fields for migrants. Since 2009, authorities have recovered more than 400 immigrants’ bodies in the county, including that of a 16-year-old Central American boy discovered last month. …
As a human rights worker, Canales fields calls from families of missing migrants. He was swamped last month, after state officials began investigating mass graves discovered at a funeral home charged with handling some of the immigrants’ bodies found in the region.
A Guatemalan man called from Boston, desperate to find his young sister; he’d paid $9,500 to get her across. Canales thinks he may have found the body.
“It’s very difficult unless you encounter someone within one or two days,” he said.