Farmer: DPS detained, then released illegal immigrants - Brownsville Herald: Valley

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Farmer: DPS detained, then released illegal immigrants

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Posted: Sunday, September 22, 2013 8:00 am

McCOOK – Texas Department of Public Safety troopers briefly detained and then released about 20 people suspected of being in the country illegally Saturday morning on a farmer’s land 24 miles north of central Mission, the landowner said.

About 8 a.m. Saturday, Lee Adams said he noticed “a lot of activity” in the brush on his large rural property. He called a DPS trooper, who called for backup. A group of troopers – which included five cars and two helicopters – eventually rounded up a group of people who appeared to possibly be in the country illegally, Adams said.

But in less than an hour, the cars and helicopters scattered, allowing the people they detained to do the same.

“They said there’s nothing they can do, the only thing they could do was detain them for 30 minutes and they’ve been there for 45,” Adams said. “Which I don’t agree with, I think all law enforcement agencies should work together.”

Adams then called a local constable’s deputy. He and the deputy found 27 people who were still on the property, he said. With Adams agreeing to press charges, the deputy held the people for criminal trespass until U.S. Border Patrol agents came in at least three waves between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to pick them up for suspected immigration violations.

“The constable’s service needs some help out here,” Adams said. “When we, the public, want law enforcement, you’re not just thinking about constable or sheriff’s department or Highway Patrol or Border Patrol. You’re thinking about all of them together. And that’s the problem – they’re not working together.”

A surge in DPS units in the Rio GrandeValley began last week, but the unspecified numbers of extra patrols on highways seem to do little to deter people traveling through brush and private dirt roads, a local lawman not authorized to comment publicly said.

Adams said he sympathizes with most of people who come into the country illegally because he believes they come to the United States to make a better life for themselves. But a large group of people traveling close to his house — where his young grandchildren often play — raises safety concerns for him.

Four people — from Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras — sat handcuffed to each other in Adams’ driveway and sipped bottles of water Adams gave them as they awaited Border Patrol agents to apprehend them Saturday afternoon. The four, between 20 and 33 years old, crossed the Rio Grande on Sunday, they said in Spanish.

A woman from Guatemala said there was no work in her home country. A man from Mexico said he had lived in Seattle for 11 years before being deported in June. A Guatemalan man said he began the journey north three months ago.

A Border Patrol agent on the scene said he could not answer questions about the incident. An agency spokesman said he would be unable to get information until Sunday morning.

A DPS spokesman responded to a phone call from The Monitor with a text message saying the traffic was Border Patrol’s responsibility. He declined further comment.

That type of shifting of blame is what irked Adams.

“I just want the agencies working together,” he said. “When a public individual calls for help, it should be whoever’s closer by. … It should be any servant.”