Farmer Seeing Increase of People Crossing Border Illegally

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BLUETOWN — A Rio Grande Valley farmer in Cameron County said he’s seeing a surge on his land of those crossing the border illegally. He said they’re not being as subtle about walking over his land.

Robert Martinez is a farmer in Bluetown. The town sits right along the Rio Grande in Cameron County. He said this isn’t the first time people have walked through his land after crossing the river.

Martinez said he’s used to people using his land as a passageway. What they’re doing now is something he hasn’t seen before.

Empty water bottles, snack wrappers and footwear are all scattered across Martinez’s land.

“The route has sort of swayed to one side, because here I got a lot of electric lights,” he said.

The farmer said last year those who crossed the border illegally left dozens of clothing articles on his farmland, making it difficult to work on. During that time, he said people would only cross through his land at night.

Martinez said he set up lights to keep people away from his home. Now, he said the game is changing.

“Last week, we had about 20. Then, we had about 10 or 15 the day before and it wasn't at night,” he said.

Martinez said those who cross the border illegally use the canal near his home to hide. He said it’s not uncommon to find remnants of water bottles or sandals left behind there.

The canal leads to the Old Military Highway. Martinez said because people are crossing during the day, they’re coming to his house.

When those people come to his door, they ask Martinez for food, water or ask him if they can use his cell phone. Sometimes he says, they’re forceful.

“They had tried to get into my house, the front door,” he said. “There was two fellas that were trying to open it by force, and I told them don't do that because you don't know what problems you’re going to get into."

Martinez said he has no plans to move. Instead, he’ll be adding even more security to his land.

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