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Two men are taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol near Falfurrias, Texas March 29, 2013. Brooks County has become an epicentre for illegal immigrant deaths in Texas. In 2012, sheriff Two men are taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol near Falfurrias, Texas March 29, 2013. Brooks County has become an epicentre for illegal immigrant deaths in Texas. In 2012, sheriff's deputies found 129 bodies there, six times the number recorded in 2010. Most of those who died succumbed to the punishing heat and rough terrain that comprise the ranch lands of south Texas. Many migrants spend a few days in a "stash house", such as the Casa del Migrante, in Reynosa, Mexico, and many are ignorant of the treacherous journey ahead. Picture taken March 29, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SOCIETY IMMIGRATION POLITICS) ATTENTION EDITORS: PICTURE 9 OF 36 FOR PACKAGE 'LIFE ON A DEADLY BORDER' SEARCH 'BROOKS MIGRANTS' FOR ALL IMAGES - RTXZNHR  

Texas Border Town Might Have To Dip Into Reserves To Pay For Surge Of Immigrants

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Chuck Ross
Reporter

Officials in a Texas border town are calling on the federal government to compensate the city for money it spent to help manage a surge of illegal immigrants that were apprehended at the border and released.

McAllen officials say the city has spent $68,000 over the past two weeks to deal with the influx of immigrants, most of whom are coming from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

“We set up a special account to capture the costs associated with this unbudgeted item,” McAllen city attorney Kevin Pagan told the McAllen Monitor.

After U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents apprehend the immigrants, many of whom are minors without parents, they are given notices to appear in court for deportation proceedings and released into the city.

McAllen is paying to bus many of them to Sacred Heart, a local church. Besides the cost of gas and payroll hours for the bus drivers, the city is also using its own generators to power mobile bathrooms.

Nearly 200 immigrants are passing through Sacred Heart each day, seeking showers, food and shelter after their days or weeks of travel, often on the top of trains or in the care of smugglers.

If the flow of immigrants continues at its current pace, Pagan said that the city may have to dip into reserve funds.

Since last October, 52,000 unaccompanied children and 39,000 parents with children have been apprehended at the border, mostly in the Rio Grande Valley.

According to Pagan, the city should not have to pay for the influx, which is nearly double that of previous years. Instead, the federal government should cover it.

“We’re hoping, because the taxpayers in McAllen did not anticipate or create this problem, that at some point the other levels of government would hopefully reimburse us for that,” Pagan said.

Gov. Rick Perry’s office is monitoring the situation, according to the McAllen Monitor.

“FEMA ought to be reimbursing the locals for any costs related to this,” Perry’s press secretary told the paper.

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