ENCINO, TEXAS - Illegal immigrants often cross the ranch lands of south Texas in the summer heat. It’s a risk that can be deadly. This as the number of people crossing rises for the first time during the Trump administration.
Behind this gate is an 8,600-acre property, tucked in somewhere between a highway and a Border Patrol checkpoint in Encino, Texas.
Ryan Weatherston, the foreman for Dos Haches Ranch, takes us on a truck ride 5 miles down a dirt road, crossing a path dozens of undocumented immigrants have traveled.
“This is a hot, hot, hot area,” said Weatherston.
It’s also an area that could easily reach 100-degree temperatures during this time of the year. It’s when Border Patrol expects illegal crossings to rise and at the same time when more people could die.
“I’ve been out here 5 years,” the foreman said. “In the past 5 years, I’ve found 8 dead people.”
Clothing, cell phones, human skulls and human corpses are just some of the scenes Weatherston has walked into.
“Desperate people do desperate things,” he said. Weatherston believes more immigrants chose to cross during summer because there are fewer watchful eyes. It's low season for hunters and bird watchers, customers who rent the camp house in the property.
However, this year things are a bit different as illegal immigration had dropped to about 70% since Trump took office until May when it picked up again about 25%. And quail birds are sticking around a little longer. The reason why former Texas governor Mark White was there.
“You hear the quail? We’ve been listening to them all day,” said the former Governor.
Governor White knows a thing or two about illegal immigration. He believes the country is taking the wrong approach.
“It’s every attribute that you want to see in a good citizen, is revealed to you in those people who have come here,” he said.
His empathy grew when he read this note left by three teenage women from El Salvador after breaking into the camp house seeking help.
The note written on June 16, 2013, reads: “Excuse us for having come in your ranch, but it was out of necessity because we were lost for 4 days. We were three young women, one of us was pregnant and was feeling very ill. Forgive us for destroying your door and have used your belongings. Had we not arrived here, we wouldn’t have been able to call migration (Border Patrol). Thank you and we’re sorry a thousand times. May God bless you. We were Salvadorians.”
“I can’t imagine my wife walking through this country pregnant and, you know, being sick and being 104 degrees outside,” said Weatherston. “That’s rough. I’m glad they were able to find this (camp house).”
These encounters have taught these men to not lock up their doors, but rather, to leave them open, for the survival of those who will decide it all to make it here, so argues the governor.
“These people want the same thing that I wanted, that my family wanted,” he pointed out. “They just happen to be born there and not here.”
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