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South Texas shows drama behind illegal immigration

Undocumented Mexican immigrants walk through the Sonoran Desert after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border border on January 19, 2011 into the Tohono O'odham Nation, Arizona. The immigrants said they had wandered the desert lost for a week after crossing from Mexico into the vast Indian reservation at night. Exhausted, they requested the Border Patrol to pick them up and take them to the U.S.-Mexico border, from where they would return to their homes in the Mexican state of Sonora. They had come, they said, to reach Phoenix and find work in construction or landscaping. All said they had worked in Arizona before. (John Moore, Getty Images)
Undocumented Mexican immigrants walk through the Sonoran Desert after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border border on January 19, 2011 into the Tohono O'odham Nation, Arizona. The immigrants said they had wandered the desert lost for a week after crossing from Mexico into the vast Indian reservation at night. Exhausted, they requested the Border Patrol to pick them up and take them to the U.S.-Mexico border, from where they would return to their homes in the Mexican state of Sonora. They had come, they said, to reach Phoenix and find work in construction or landscaping. All said they had worked in Arizona before. (John Moore, Getty Images)
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Updated: 7/07 8:53 am

MISSION, Texas (AP) — The epicenter of the recent surge in illegal immigration is a 5-mile slice of deep South Texas that has become a hot spot for migrants, human smugglers and drug cartels.

This part of the U.S.-Mexico border near the town of Mission bristles with cameras, lookout towers and heavily armed patrols.

Just since October, the Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector has made more than 194,000 arrests, nearly triple that of any other sector. Most are from Central America and many are children.

They often turn themselves over to authorities after crossing the river, knowing they will eventually be released.

Parents with young children and young children traveling alone are often permitted to remain in the U.S. while their immigration cases move forward, a process that can sometimes take years.

 

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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