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Migrant Crisis Expands North

21 July 2014 No Comment

Daniel Zamarripa, right, and his partner Domingo Aguirre patrol an area outside Falfurrias, Texas, where immigrants often seek shelter. The Brooks County Sheriff’s Office has lately been overwhelmed by 911 calls from migrants lost in the region’s meadows and scrublands. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles)

Daniel Zamarripa loaded his police dog into the back of his patrol car and set out to track his quarry — immigrants circumventing the local Border Patrol checkpoint.

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. Many surrender to immigration agents willingly at the Rio Grande, aware that they will be allowed to stay pending immigration court hearings.

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