GALVESTON COUNTY – At least three Galveston County deputies and one elected constable will be heading to Kinney County next week as part of Gov. Greg Abbot’s border initiative.
Last month, Galveston judge Mark Henry issued a disaster declaration in response to the dramatic rise in the number of people caught illegally crossing the border and pledged to send help.
“The immigrants coming across the border aren’t stopping at the border and setting up shop there, they’re going to continue to come north,” Henry said.
Henry authorized the move Wednesday after he said the sheriff of Kinney County asked for help in dealing with an increase in border-related crime. Kinney County is just east of Del Rio; an area that has seen a 500% increase this year in the number of apprehensions and those deemed inadmissible to the United States. Henry said the sheriff’s office only has six deputies and a 12-bed jail.
“So, we’re going to effectively double their capacity, double their staffing and help them however they ask us to,” said Henry.
Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said he is sending one deputy. This is in addition to the four jailers Trochesset already sent to Del Rio to help process immigrants arrested on state charges as part of the governor’s initiative.
According to Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials, there are currently 235 people being held in the Briscoe prison unit. This unit was cleared out to make room for immigrants arrested on state charges, such as trespassing.
Precinct 2 Constable Jimmy Fullen said he and one of his deputies will be among those volunteering in Kinney County. Fullen is coordinating this effort for Galveston County and said another deputy from a different constable’s office has volunteered. Fullen said they are waiting to hear from yet another constable’s office as to whether it will also send a deputy.
Fullen said the deputies will work 12-hour shifts on two-week rotations until help is no longer needed. Henry said reserve deputies fill the vacancies created by those volunteering on the border. Henry also said any costs incurred by helping border counties will be paid for with American Rescue Plan funds, which were distributed to counties to help mitigate the financial impact of the COVID pandemic.