Human Smugglers Bypass Border Patrol, Bedeviling Sheriffs And Ranchers In South Texas

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from NPR,

When immigration policy changes in Washington, D.C., it’s felt immediately on the Jones Ranch, located an hour’s drive north of the Rio Grande in South Texas.

Whit Jones III — in a mud-spattered hat and spurs — drives his pickup along a rural highway, pointing out all the repairs where smuggling vehicles plowed through his fences.

“A lot of times they come and hit these gates,” he says, motioning to a mangled metal gate. “You can see it’s been knocked down a bunch.”

In its 130 years of existence, the Jones Ranch has weathered hurricanes and droughts, fever ticks and screwworms, and lots of migrant traffic. But he says he’s never seen so much human smuggling in the region. Jones estimates they’ve spent more than $30,000 just since January fixing dozens of breaks in their fences.

Undocumented migrants from Mexico and Central America trekking on foot and packed into vehicles are heading north through South Texas in ever greater numbers. Some are dying along the way in the harsh, arid terrain.

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