Authorities in the south Texas border region of Brooks County say they are seeing a startling increase in “Code 500s,” the department’s call sign for a dead body, reports USA Today. The bodies are believed to be immigrants crossing into the USA illegally from the nearby border with Mexico who are either killed and left behind by smugglers or die in the withering heat. Deputies picked up 129 bodies last year, a nearly 100 percent jump from 2011 and the most ever recorded in the county.
Brooks County contributed nearly one-third of all the bodies recovered across the entire 2,000-mile U.S. border with Mexico last year. This year, deputies have found 39 bodies and are on pace to surpass last year’s tally, given that most of the cadavers show up in the hot months of July, August and September. There are more immigrants dying in Brooks County than in any other place in Texas. It is a disturbing trend: more people dying as they try to enter the USA illegally even as the overall number of illegal immigrants declines.