DEL RIO, Texas — Del Rio is a community of more than 35,000 people that sits right on the border. The only thing separating the city and Mexico is the Rio Grande.
For Pat and Patsy, living by the water brings a soothing feeling.
“When the wind’s not blowing, we have coffee every morning out by the river because it’s just smooth,” Patsy said.
The couple, who moved to Del Rio from Houston about three years ago, said they’ve seen migrants cross the border in this area. But they say it’s not a problem.
“Down here someplace or close to us maybe and they’ll just walk down the road and wait for Border Patrol to pick them up,” Pat said.
“We’ve called them in a couple of times,” Pat added. “If we don’t see a truck, we’ll call the headquarters and they’ll send a truck out right away.”
The Del Rio Sector of the United States Border Patrol covers 300 miles into Texas from the U.S.-Mexico border and the 41 counties in the sector are made up mostly by farms and ranches.
On August 27, 2019, Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz held a ranchers meeting to discuss border issues. He spoke to nearly 90 people at the meeting, according to a Border Patrol news release.
“We cannot do this alone,” Chief Ortiz said. “Only through a unity of effort, which involves the entire community working together, can we achieve true control of our border area.”
During the meeting, he spoke about ways the Del Rio Sector is working to build on its relationships with ranchers in the community. This includes growing the already existing Ranch Liason Program. The program has agents that are specially assigned to establish and stay in communication with landowners and residents.
“Building strong relationships with you is extremely important,” Chief Ortiz said. “You all are our eyes and ears out there, so please call us, call your station’s representatives whenever you see anything and we will get our people out there.”
According to a RevealNews.org analysis, in south Texas, there is a 55-mile stretch of pedestrian fence that sometimes goes through private land and isn’t entirely connected.