On Thursday, June 20, 2019, Val Verde County Sheriff Frank Martinez spoke to the community about the influx of immigrants to the city of Del Rio. “We are a rural community with no transportation infrastructure and no housing options,” stated Martinez. A group of people from faith-based organizations have come together to help and establish a plan of action to help with getting the immigrants to their destinations.
“The Border Patrol Office has done an excellent job in helping us keep our community safe,” commented Martinez. When the immigrants are released, they are taken to shelters where they are giving the opportunity to contact their sponsor, this is the person that is helping them get to their destination. They are also able to eat and bathe. Once they have contacted their sponsor and arrange the availability of funds, volunteers help the immigrants purchase bus or plane tickets. “Right now, a handful of volunteers have done an excellent job of keeping these people from wandering the streets,” stated Martinez.
Mental health issues have also been a concern to Val Verde County. They recently had an issue with an 8-year-old boy that due to his mental health, that derived from family issues tried to commit suicide. He had to transported by the sheriff’s office to the hospital. “The problem in the U.S. regarding mental health patients right now is that there are hospitals for them to go to, but due to personnel shortages they can only house a portion of the capacity,” commented Martinez. In the process of dealing with a mental health patient, the sheriff’s office is 7th or 8th on the list regarding transportation responsibility, at the top list is the patient’s family.
To the residents of Del Rio and the surrounding areas regarding the immigrants Sheriff Martinez says, “These people did not come here to stay in a border town, they are just looking for a little bit of help to be on their way. It is not costing us anything right now, but the time of the volunteers. If someone questions or needs to report something, please call us at 830-719-1227. Do not pay too much attention to Facebook, it is based on rumors.”