From CBS Houston, Benjamin Fearnow, July 31, 2014 –
Brooks County, Texas (CBS HOUSTON) – Law enforcement officers from several Texas counties have banded together to form a “Border Brotherhood” who volunteer without pay to help enforce U.S. border laws in counties where there are too few deputies to regulate the ongoing flow of illegal immigrants crossing over from Mexico.
Chasing immigrants and human traffickers on foot and in high-speed pursuits, Chief Daniel Walden has helped form what he calls the “Border Brotherhood” to assist law enforcement officers in Brooks County — 80 miles from his own school district in Donna, Texas – to help curb human smuggling and illegal immigration, KENS-TV reports.
The bodies of more than 40 immigrants who were dropped off on the thousands of acres of ranch land have already been recovered this year.
Walden and a dozen other peace officers from across Texas have volunteered to donate their time and law enforcement badges to help Brooks County regulate the ongoing border crisis. According to KENS, Brooks County is one of the poorest counties in the U.S., with only enough funding for four deputies – or one deputy on duty each day. Making matters worse, Brooks County extends along a large stretch of land that is one of the final border checkpoints into the U.S.
“You take a county the size of Rhode Island and you put one deputy out there by himself, what are you going to do?” Walden told KENS. “We are a brotherhood in law enforcement, which means when an officer needs help, we’ll help them.”
Walden and the other volunteer officers of the Brotherhood regularly chase down undocumented immigrants and human traffickers who simply drop off illegals of all ages in the expansive brush of Brooks County – many of these people are left to wander thousands of acres of land and often die along the way.
The deputies are not seeking any payment for their often dangers work.
“It’s something I took a personal interest in,” said Walden. “We’re law enforcement. We’re not immigration. But we’re human beings and we care about someone’s life…We’re here to save lives. Every person we’re able to recover is somebody who is not going to die in the brush.”
Some local law enforcement admitted to KENS of being weary of the Border Brotherhood volunteers, but they have also expressed their gratitude for assistance in a border crisis that has seen tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and other illegal immigrants flowing into the U.S.
“They’re coming at their own dime, looking for nothing in return,” Brooks County Chief Deputy Bennie Martinez told KENS. “Those are hard to come by. People just don’t do things like that anymore.”
Another member of the Border Brotherhood, Austin Malone, is also a volunteer deputy who travelled down from San Antonio to help regulate the border.
“Back in San Antonio I go to school, and have a part time job working security,” Malone told KENS. “I don’t want people to get lost and die.”