Go on dangerous trek across Brooks County where 700 migrants have died

KSAT journeys to 'The Line,' capturing stories near the border

By Steve Spriester - Anchor, Adrian Garcia - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - With all the national media attention the border has received in recent months, KSAT 12 is traveling to South Texas with many questions in mind.

One of the many questions: What do people who live and/or work in the area think about all the attention?

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The media attention of family separations, building the border wall and migrants who have died in the process of entering the United States has put towns such as McAllen, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Falfurrias and much more under a microscope.

Much like the old saying goes: To know a person, one must walk a mile in their shoes.

KSAT anchor Steve Spriester, digital reporter Adrian Garcia, photojournalist Luis Cienfuegos and executive producer Mario Orellana will be documenting during the course of their journey reporting along the border.

DAY 4 (Wednesday): (10:05 p.m.) The Border Patrol is warning future truck drivers about the risks they will soon have to be aware of once they receive their commercial license.

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The KSAT crew experienced the Brooks County's "Death March" by walking in migrants' footsteps.

Note: KSAT 12 News had permission from ranch owners to walk on their land.

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(6:05 p.m.) Many of the undocumented immigrants who are found dead or alive in Brooks County are known by authorities to come from "stash houses" just 50 miles south of the county.

The Hidalgo County Constable Precinct 4 said the immigrants are often found living in deplorable, dangerous conditions at stash houses in the area.

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(5:15 p.m.) The KSAT crew ended its "The Line" series by walking nearly six miles across Brooks County, which is the same path that migrants take when they cross the border. The migrants, however, typically walk about 25 miles with some known to have trekked more than 50 miles.

It is a walk the locals call as the "Death March."

Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Constable told KSAT that rental properties in the area are now being used as “stash houses” by human smugglers.

Officials said authorities found 57 men and women packed inside a stash house two weeks ago. Just last week, 59 more undocumented immigrants were rescued after being found crammed inside another stash house.

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(2:30 p.m.) Wednesday is the final day of the #KSATBorderJourney: A walk across Brooks County that locals call the “Death March.” The KSAT crew is walking the same 25-mile trek across rough terrain that migrants take when they cross the border. It’s hot, dry and dangerous in the extreme.

DAY 3 (Tuesday): (11:30 p.m.) Steve Spriester will be providing vlogs at the end of each day as part of KSAT's "The Line" stories near the US-Mexico border.

For day 3, Spriester talks about visiting the towns of Border Pass and Carrizo Springs, which were along the route to Falfurrias in Brooks County.

He also addresses the final day of #KSATBorderJourney where he and the KSAT crew will attempt to walk the 25-mile stretch that the migrants take when they come up from the border.

(10:05 p.m.) Arturo’s Bar and Grill was first established across the border in a small town of Nuevo Progreso, Mexico. With the rise in cartel violence, a second location was built just 10 miles west in Weslaco, Texas.

The restaurant has become a popular spot among the locals after opening up nearly eight years ago.

(6:59 p.m.) The #KSATBorderJourney final destination is Falurrias, Texas, in Brooks County.

KSAT's Steve Spriester, Luis Cienfuegos, Mario Orellana, Sal Salazar and Adrian Garcia will walk the same path that the migrants take in Brooks County.

The Brooks County Sheriff's Office told KSAT from 2004 to today, authorities have found more than 720 skeletal remains of migrants across the area.

BCSO said June, July, and August are historically the deadliest months in the county.

The KSAT crew will attempt to walk the long stretch Wednesday morning that a BCSO deputy said is about 25 miles long but that some migrants do more than 50 miles.

Video: Retired teacher from SA volunteers at immigrant center in Rio Grande Valley

Sheriff: Hidalgo County sees record drop in crime rate 

(6:27 p.m.) KSAT’s Steve Spriester and the crew are heading to Falfurrias, Texas, in Brooks County where they will end the #KSATBorderJourney.

Click on the video below to listen in as Spriester provides a recap of today's stops from Eagle Pass and Carrizo Springs where he interviewed South Texas residents about living near the border.

PART 1

PART 2

(6:10 p.m.) Lake Amistad in Del Rio attracts anglers from across the world every year but visitors from nearby Texas cities are not coming.

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(5:05 p.m.) The third stop in the #KSATBorderJourney is Hebbronville, Texas, which is also known as the "Vaquero Capitol of Texas."

KSAT anchor Steve Spriester and the crew are traveling to Brooks County where they will trek the same rough terrain as the migrants who use it to avoid the checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas.

(4:25 p.m.) The Border Patrol announced a new initiative to help migrants who are lost during their trek through the Rio Grande Valley.

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Courtesy: US Border Patrol

(2:15 p.m.) The second stop in the #KSATBorderJourney is Carrizo Springs, Texas, which is along the route to Brooks County.

Steve Spriester met up with a resident and a new business owner who shared their thoughts on the small town. 

(11:45 a.m.) The first stop in #KSATBorderJourney is Eagle Pass, Texas, with Piedras Negras just across the International Bridge. 

KSAT anchor Steve Spriester talked with some residents who shared their experience about living in a border town.

(10:20 a.m.) The KSAT news team is on the road heading to Brooks County where they meet up with Brooks County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday, walking the same rough terrain as the migrants who use it to avoid the Falfurrias Checkpoint.

DAY 2 (MONDAY): (11:45 p.m.) Steve Spriester will be providing vlogs at the end of each day as part of KSAT's "The Line" stories near the US-Mexico border. For day 2, Spriester talks about his breakfast discussion with locals from Del Rio, the crew's reporting on Lake Amistad and what he expects for the next day as KSAT heads south to Brooks County.

(10:00 p.m.) Meet the women who have called the Rio Grande and the Texas-Mexico border their backyard for 20 years.

"I wouldn't want to live anywhere else," Del Rio woman said.

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(8:10 p.m.) Steve Spriester and the KSAT crew met up with a couple of viewers who have been following the #KSATBorderJourney. When they saw the crew during dinner, one man said, "Hey y'all are doing 'The Line' stories, right? Y'all are going to Eagle Pass, Carrizo Springs and Falfurrias next."

(6:05 p.m.) KSAT anchor Steve Spriester sat down with some of the locals for breakfast to talk about some of the issues that have gained national media attention.

For them, however, they say the city has bigger issues than just being a border town.

To view the story, click on the video below:

(5:00 p.m.) KSAT.com's Adrian Garcia navigated around Del Rio capturing murals that celebrate the culture between neighboring countries.

 

KSAT 12 News reporter Jessie Degollado visited with the Penitas Police Department, with only about a dozen officers who have a lot of miles to patrol and who often are the first to encounter illegal activity coming across the Rio Grande west of Mission.

(2:20 p.m.) The KSAT crew went on a boat to explore Lake Amistad where "The Line" splits the lake.

In an interview, local guides told Steve Spriester that people do not visit Lake Amistad because of common misperceptions and it being so close to the border. 

(1:50 p.m.) KSAT’s Steve Spriester and the crew just toured Lake Amistad where the Rio Grande not only feeds into but also spans the border.

Click on the video below to listen in as Spriester provides a rundown of today's reporting from Del Rio.

(7:35 a.m.) KSAT's Steve Spriester kicks off Day 2 of "The Line" by talking and eating breakfast with locals from Del Rio with many questions in mind.

One of the questions: What's like to live and/or work near the border especially with the recent national media attention?

 

DAY 1 (SUNDAY):

(11:30 p.m.) Steve Spriester will be providing vlogs at the end of each day as part of KSAT's "The Line" stories near the US-Mexico border. Spriester dives deep into what he and the crew experienced, his takeaways from the day 1 in Del Rio, Texas, and what he expects for the next day of reporting. 

Click below to watch Spriester's Day 1 Vlog.

(9:55 p.m.) KSAT 12 officially starts the series of stories from along the border. The crew's first stop for "The Line" series is in Del Rio. Scroll below to see the tweets, Instagram posts and videos from today's #KSATBorderJourney.

(7:41 p.m.) KSAT's Steve Spriester met up with two residents whose backyard is the Rio Grande River that splits the United States from Mexico.

Listen to Spriester as he describes the interview with the two residents and other takeaways from today's interviews. 

(3:11 p.m.) KSAT crew travels to Del Rio for their first "The Line" stop to meet up with a family who has lived near the US-Mexico border and talk to them about their livelihood experience.

Spriester provides a rundown of what viewers can expect as KSAT reports near the US-Mexico border for the series, "The Line."

Click on the video below to watch the Facebook Live.

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