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The human cost of the U.S. border policy

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The documentary "Missing in Brooks County" shines a harsh light on a tragedy constantly unfolding along the U.S.-Mexico border. It follows two families desperately searching for loved ones who vanished after attempting to cross into Texas through Brooks County. This unforgiving region, notorious for its scorching desert landscape, has become a hotspot for migrant disappearances.

The film exposes the human cost of U.S. border policy. Increased border security measures in populated areas have forced migrants to take more dangerous routes, pushing them into the unforgiving terrain of Brooks County. This policy prioritizes deterrence over safety, creating a situation where people risk their lives simply to reach a better future.

"Missing in Brooks County" doesn't shy away from the complexities of the issue. It portrays the anxieties of ranchers who patrol their land, fearing trespassers and drug smugglers. However, the focus remains on the profound loss felt by families left with agonizing uncertainty. The documentary also sheds light on the tireless work of humanitarian groups searching for the missing and offering solace to the bereaved.

The film has sparked outrage and ignited discussions about the need for a more humane approach to border security. Critics argue that current policies prioritize enforcement over humanitarian needs, leaving migrants vulnerable to exploitation by smugglers and the dangers of the environment.

The film, “Missing in Brooks County,” is slated to show at the following events and venues:

  • 6:30 p.m., April 16 at the Latin American and U.S. Perspectives Symposium at Baylor University in Waco
  • 1 p.m., April 17, at the Texas State Capitol Auditorium in Austin
  • 6 p.m., April 17, at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin
  • 8 p.m., April 18 at the Entre Film Center in Harlingen
  • 8 p.m., April 19 at the Hidalgo Pump House at the border wall in Hidalgo (outdoor)
  • 7:30 p.m., April 20 at the Freeman Ranch/Texas State University Human Decomposition Lab in San Marcos (outdoor)


Jeff Bemiss and Lisa Molomot are the producers and co-directors of the documentary “Missing in Brooks County.”

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*This interview will be recorded on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi