MISSION, TX - APRIL 11: A U.S. Border Patrol agent guards a suspected drug smuggler on April 11, 2013 in Mission, Texas. Border Patrol agents with helicopter support from the Office of Air and Marine broke up a smuggling shipment of marijuana being transported across the border from Mexico into Texas. In addition to heavy drug smuggling in the area, Border Patrol agents say they have also seen an additional surge in immigrant traffic in Texas' Rio Grande Valley sector since immigration reform negotiations began this year in Washington D.C. Credit: Getty Images
It seems even illegal immigrants seeking to cross over the U.S.-Mexico border are following the current immigration debate. Linda Vickers, who owns a ranch in Brooks County, Texas, told WOAI that she witnessed one man being arrested on her ranch and that he told the border agent Obama would let him go.
"The Border Patrol agent was loading one man up, and he told the officer in Spanish, 'Obama's gonna let me go'," Vickers said.
Meanwhile, Border Patrol agents report that some immigrants will even ask, "Where do I go for my amnesty?" while they are surrendering.
"When you have amnesty waving in the wind, you're going to get an increase," Vickers says. "And when you get an increase, especially with this heat, you're going to get an increase in deaths."
She told WOAI that the current uptick in illegal immigration began last summer, implying that it directly comports with President Obama's plans to forgo deportation of young people who came to the U.S. as children.
"Washington is directly responsible for these deaths," she said. WOAI adds:
Negotiators in Washington yesterday agreed to limit any 'path to citizenship' or any benefits under immigration reform to people who arrived in the U.S. before 2012, but Vickers says that won't do any good.
She says immigrant smugglers, who charge between $2000 and $7000 per person to smuggle them into the U.S., routinely lie to would be immigrants, and the current lie is 'if you can only get into the U.S., you'll get amnesty.'
Brooks County reportedly has the highest number of illegal immigrant deaths each year allegedly because smugglers release their passengers far before reaching the Border Patrol checkpoint in Falfurrias, leaving them to their own devices in the blistering heat.
"If that individual, illegal immigrant, can't keep up, they are left behind," she said. "And you are going to die out in this heat if you can't find water."