SIERRA BLANCA, Texas - ABC-7 Sunday Xtra travels to Hudspeth County, where officials report a significant spike in the number of migrant bodies turning up in the county's mountains.
Before 2019, sheriff's deputies and Border Patrol reported discovering between two and three bodies a year.
Now they are finding more than 20 bodies every year.
Even more concerning is that officials say those are just the bodies they can recover and believe many more bodies of migrants are going unreported.
Officials also say that unlike ports of entry, where migrants seek asylum, Hudspeth law enforcement confronts the criminal element: undocumented migrants crossing from Mexico into the county, vandalizing homes and stealing property.
Those who are caught are putting a strain on the jail system. So much so the Hudspeth county Sheriff says he wants to expand jail capacity.
"Yeah, it costs money. So when we got people who have committed crimes locally that are caught, you know the breaking and entering, the destruction of property when they go to the jail, we also are responsible for their medical care. They might spend 60 to 100-thousand dollars in a week on medical care. For these individuals that are housed in the jail awaiting their due diligence and the law process," said county administrator and emergency management coordinator Joanna McKenzie.
ABC-7 Sunday Xtra host Saul Saenz traveled to Hudspeth County to find out what's behind the troubling surge and the strain the issue is putting on the county's budget, and workforce.