Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Goliad County becoming illegal alien freeway

This report from the Waco Tribune-Herald points out lots of problems in South Texas (and particularly the small town of Sarco):
Acres of South Texas ranch land used to insulate this tiny, rural corner of Goliad County from the disruptions of the Mexican border 200 miles away.

In recent months, however, illegal immigrants have been pouring into the community, worrying many of the 40 residents and prompting some to join up with the controversial civilian border patrol group known as the Minuteman Project.

Immigrant smugglers have found the area's secluded bridges and dry riverbeds ideal drop-off points. The county also offers distance from border checkpoints, overworked law enforcement and easy access to jobs in San Antonio, Victoria, Corpus Christi or Houston.

No major crimes have been reported, but residents have stepped up calls of suspicious activity to sheriff's deputies already weighted down with escalating arrests countywide. Among the chief complaints are immigrant-loaded vehicles racing through town.

"You used to be able to walk down the road for exercise or a child could ride a bike," said Sarco landowner Bill Parmley. "Now it's just like the Indianapolis 500."

Immigrant arrests are on pace to pass last year's total by at least 20,000 in the 19-county U.S. Border Patrol district that includes Goliad, according to the agency. Arrests include people from 62 countries and could double the 26,438 from last year.

The problem is illustrated by the Goliad County Sheriff's Department impound lot. In January it held a few vehicles seized in immigration cases. Today it holds more than 50.
Sheriff Robert DeLaGarza has 13 deputies to patrol a 1,000-square-mile county, and the increase in immigration activity, he said, is just overwhelming."

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