Cameron Co. Residents React to Increase in DPS Presence
NEAR BROWNSVILLE - People who live along the U.S.-Mexico border wall near Brownsville said they’ve noticed an increase of DPS troopers patrolling the area.
Residents along FM 1491 said it was rare to see a DPS unit in their area. They started to see troopers all day as of few weeks ago.
It didn’t take long before a CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew saw DPS units patrolling the road outside Brownsville city limits.
Resident Maria Benavides said she first noticed their presence about two months ago. She said she doesn’t mind them, even though several of her family members have been stopped.
“We are scared because there could be bad people around here at night. Not during the day, but at night there is,” she said.
Martin De La Garza owns a store in the area. He agrees with the reinforcement although business has slowed down.
“Sometimes they park here near the store. People don’t want to stop here either,” he said.
De La Garza said more DPS presence is also good for nearby residents.
“It’s good for them to be patrolling around here, because people usually drive too fast… So, it’s good. Things are more peaceful,” he said.
Jesus and Antonia Cardenas said they’ve noticed something different. They believe it’s because of fear.
“One on hand, it’s good because there’s less crime. So for me, that’s good. But there’s a lot of people that are uncomfortable because they are here without documents or no license,” he said.
Antonia Cardenas said she sometimes sees DPS troopers and Border Patrol agents huddled on the side of the road. She doesn’t believe DPS should take part in enforcing immigration law.
“I don’t think that’s right because they are stopping a lot of people that are undocumented and they hold them up,” she said.
We wanted to know why DPS moved state troopers in the area. A spokesman in Austin said he could not answer our questions. He did send the following statement:
“DPS has the operational flexibility to shift our resources, personnel and assets, at any time to meet emerging threats along the entire Texas-Mexico border. However, we do not discuss issues relating to operational security or law enforcement safety.”
Other residents said they’ve also seen more sheriff deputies and other undercover authorities in the area than in the past. Some of them didn’t want to talk on camera for fear of their safety.