Texas ranchers refuse to accept blame for immigrant deaths

Landowners in Brooks County in the state of Texas are furious at being blamed for the number of undocumented immigrants entering their properties and dying, saying the fact that the deaths are occurring is not their fault.

“We just think the landowner shouldn’t take the blame on this,” says Texas Property Rights Association director Susan Kibbe. “Somehow the US is blamed for their deaths, or ranchers are blamed on their deaths, or others are blamed for their deaths, when they know when they come into this country illegally, they’re taking this chance.” The bodies of 41 dead immigrants have so far been discovered in Brooks County, which is situated around 70 miles to the north of the US border.

Many of the human traffickers who get to Brooks County’s Falfurrias Checkpoint drop their cargo – undocumented immigrants – before they reach this point, thus forcing them to try to fend for themselves in an area of Texas where there is little way in the shade and temperatures often reach as high as 100°F.

While human rights activists are complaining that ranchers refusing to allow searchers onto their private ranches to look for missing people are part of the cause of the deaths, Kibbe says that in the one recent quoted instance of a missing woman, the local sheriff’s office and Border Patrol were allowed access and that “the landowner is doing all they can that’s reasonable”. Kibbe adds that illegal immigration itself is the major problem and that activists would be better advised to go and help people in Central America.