The Washington Post profiles Elias Pompa, 37, an $11.50-an-hour deputy sheriff in Brooks County, Texas, who on a recent day stood as a lone sentry to protect a thousand square miles of backcountry border. In Brooks County, in the center of an ongoing U.S. border crisis, it is usually Pompa alone who must respond in person when a crisis occurs. President Obama is sending more money, Gov. Rick Perry is sending the National Guard to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Congress is debating how best to manage the humanitarian and security implications as a record 6,000 unaccompanied children cross illegally into the United States each month.
But whenever an immigration-related emergency prompts someone in his jurisdiction to dial 911, as happens a few dozen times a day, the call rings to a nearly bankrupt sheriff's office in one of the poorest counties in Texas, where on one recent day the only available solution to an international crisis was Deputy Pompa.