Texas Border Business
By Roberto Hugo González
Texas Border Business recently had the opportunity for an exclusive interview with Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez, who has held the position since 2017. Our conversation took place in McAllen during the South Texans’ Property Rights Association’s 18th Annual Meeting and Fundraiser at the Embassy Suites by Hilton (McAllen Convention Center). During our discussion, Sheriff Martinez highlighted the pressing issues facing Brooks County, Texas.
Brooks County is no stranger to national attention, but for reasons it wishes were otherwise. It’s a place known for the grim reality of migrant deaths. One of the primary challenges the county faces is the constant flow of illegal border crossings, and it all centers around the Falfurrias Border Patrol interior checkpoint, known as F 13. This checkpoint, located about 80 miles north of the Mexican border, is one of the busiest in the Southwest corridor. Its primary purpose is to inspect vehicles traveling northbound, intercepting narcotics and, tragically, human remains.
Sheriff Martinez explained that the checkpoint has led to a new problem – migrants attempting to circumvent it. They often traverse private ranch lands, leading to trespassing and damage to property for landowners in the area. This situation has put a tremendous strain on the community.
When asked about the county’s population, Sheriff Martinez estimated it to be approximately 7,207. The impact of illegal entry into the country has been significant. In the past, Brooks County bore the brunt of the problem, but in recent years, the surge of migrants has shifted westward, with Maverick County now in the spotlight. People are simply crossing the Rio Grande and stepping onto U.S. soil.
The situation has become increasingly concerning because of its scale and the unknown identities of those arriving. Sheriff Martinez emphasized that while legal immigration has always been the proper way to enter the United States, mass migrations create challenges that are difficult to manage. The lack of infrastructure and funds to address this issue is a common problem across the country.
Sheriff Martinez explained that Brooks County has been fortunate to receive support from the governor’s office and funding from programs like the Stone Garden initiative, which is funded through the Border Patrol. These funds have helped the county address some of the challenges they face in terms of fuel, vehicles, infrastructure maintenance, and routine duties.
However, the biggest issue isn’t the checkpoint or even the volume of illegal crossings but rather the uncertainty surrounding who is crossing the border. The inability to ascertain the identities and backgrounds of those entering poses a significant threat to the United States as a whole. Sheriff Martinez highlighted the potential consequences of allowing individuals from various countries, including communist nations, to enter without proper vetting.
We discussed the role of the federal government in addressing these challenges. Sheriff Martinez expressed concerns about the current administration’s approach, which he believes has contributed to the crisis. He stressed the need to secure the border and return to a system that upholds the rule of law and proper immigration procedures.
As we wrapped up our conversation, Sheriff Martinez emphasized the importance of being vigilant as a nation and urged Americans to consider the implications of electing officials who may not have the best interests of the United States at heart. He cautioned against complacency in the face of the unknown and the potential for internal threats to our country’s security.
In the end, our conversation with Sheriff Benny Martinez provided a sobering glimpse into the challenges faced by Brooks County and the broader implications of the current immigration crisis. It serves as a reminder of the need for thoughtful, comprehensive solutions to address the complexities of border security and immigration policy in the United States.