The comments to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, were made Sunday when he met with South Texas property owners in Falfurrrias, the San Antonio Express News reported Monday.
"The border is out of control," Presnall Cage, who manages a ranch near a Border Patrol checkpoint, told Cornyn. "And nobody wants to take a hold of this thing because it is so politically sensitive."
Brooks County, where Cage's ranch is situated, recorded 129 deaths last year of immigrants who died in the region's desert-like conditions while crossing into the United States. So far this year, 19 bodies have been recovered.
Cornyn was presented with photographs of dozens of people apprehended by the Border Patrol with the help of the Texas Border Volunteers, a group of volunteer ranchers and citizens who patrol the county for immigrants.
The senator was touring South Texas in advance of a Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday on a bill that calls for stricter border enforcement. The bipartisan proposal aims for 90 percent effectiveness and 100 percent surveillance of the border before most undocumented immigrants could take steps toward citizenship.