Volunteers Join Texas Police Force Overwhelmed With Migrants

Tuesday, 01 Jul 2014 11:18 AM

By Andrea Billups

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A growing crop of volunteer law enforcement officers are helping their colleagues who are overwhelmed with the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border into Brooks County, Texas.

The county, described as a "migrant death trap," has seen an increasing financial burden with the surge of immigrants. Fifteen new reserve deputies have been sworn in to help patrol the county's 1,000 square miles, Breitbart.com reports.

"We have many more police officers wanting to volunteer to help," said Donna Independent School District Acting Police Chief Daniel Walden, who founded the volunteer police corps, Border Brotherhood of Texas.

Members who join the group come from as far as 80 miles away to work extra shifts in Brooks County, he said, where so many immigrants have been found dead — 12 in June alone — that the costs of burying them, about $2,500 each, has created a budget shortfall. Only four full-time deputies are left for the entire county.

"It costs us about $300 to get an officer ready to be sworn in," and to cover a uniform and bulletproof vest for the volunteer deputies to wear, Walden said.

The county's handling of the border surge marks an ongoing crisis as a flood of increasingly younger immigrants have crossed into the United States over the past couple of months. The number of unaccompanied youth, many from South America, has been estimated at 52,000, the Chicago Tribune reported. That figure is close to double the number who crossed in 2013.

Many of those who are caught at the border are sent to Southern California, as Texas Border Patrol facilities set up to house them, including those in the Rio Grande Valley, become increasingly crowded. The first wave of those illegal immigrants arrived on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"The movement will allow the U.S. Border Patrol in less congested areas to assist in processing family units from South Texas, where we are seeing an influx of migrants crossing the border," Michael Friel, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told the Times in a statement about the moves.

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