Fort Hancock, Texas: Where a fence and hope for illegals ends


The knock on Lupe Dempsey’s door Friday at the Horse Shoe D ranch, less than a half mile from the Mexican border, hardly surprised the retired Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

On her doorstep was a 25-year-old man named Juan who, thirsty and disoriented, told how he’d become lost after illegally crossing the border and had wandered the desert in 110-degree heat. His story was not unique to Dempsey and others in this west Texas town, where the 18-foot-high U.S. border fence ends abruptly, giving way to a few strands of barbed wire.

Residents say Mexicans wander along the southern side of the border fence for days, searching for the terminus, where – if they make it – crossing is easy. Juan told Dempsey he was from Zacatecas state in central Mexico. He said he had been with three other men, including a 20-year-old rookie coyote – slang for the guides who migrants into the U.S.