Border County Sees Major Rise In Dead Bodies

The number of dead migrants in Thaddeus Cleveland’s county, Texas, has risen dramatically under Biden’s presidency, according to the sheriff.

Operation Lone Star, which began in March 2021 and seeks to reduce border crossings and increase funding for the National Guard and police enforcement, is part of the state’s effort to reduce illegal immigration. But some places are doing things differently, like Terrell County. Because of its natural barriers—including canyons, hills, washes, mountains, and man-made cliffs—Terrell County, home to 760 people, does not have a border wall.

One dead migrant has been discovered within county lines annually by law enforcement and the Border Patrol. The number of bodies found has increased to 37 in the last three years.

Before his 26-year tenure as a federal Border Patrol agent—the last 11 of which he spent in Terrell County—Cleveland spent three years in the United States Air Force. On one side, the county borders the Rio Grande for 54 miles, while on the other, a Border Patrol post oversees the 91 miles that separate Texas and Mexico.

The number of migrants in Terrell County has fluctuated; according to Cleveland, this is because of the agents and an unknown number of “got-aways.”

The House Committee on Homeland Security made public transcripts with top Border Patrol officials in December, and sources within U.S. Customs and Border Protection verified the arrival of over 1.7 million runaways. Raul Ortiz, a former head of the Border Patrol, speculated that the number of got-aways could be 20% greater than what is officially known.

FBI Director Christopher Wray warned U.S. House and Senate lawmakers about the tactics migrant groups use to sneak into the country and evade detection by intelligence services and border patrol. While some migrants may be able to cross the border safely, he warned that others may abandon food and water supplies in unattended houses.

Last year, five more cars, deputies, and nighttime equipment were sent to the county with $1.7 million in authorized resources.