In June 2014, forensic anthropologists disinterred human remains from 52 graves in a small city in southern Texas. The Los Angeles Times called them “mass graves.” And they contained dozens of unidentified bodies.
The city of Falfurrias, where the graves were found, is a poor, shrinking settlement, known for its sprawling ranches. Home to fewer than 5,000 inhabitants, it is the administrative seat of Brooks County – a sparsely-populated constituency covering 944 square miles.
The county is not located immediately on the Mexican border – in fact it is dozens of miles away. Nevertheless, the county has become a busy corridor for undocumented migrants. In order to avoid detection by the Highway 281 Border Patrol checkpoint, many take their chances in the county’s ranchlands. And it is there that many perish.