An activist detective searches for missing migrants in “Missing in Brooks County” on INDEPENDENT LENS – Jan. 31 at 10 pm

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Independent Lens: Missing in Brooks County

Monday, January 31  at 9 pm

More migrants go missing in rural South Texas (Brooks County) than anywhere else in the U.S—it’s estimated to be the location of 3,000 deaths since 2008. The documentary film, “Missing in Brooks County,” chronicles families whose loved ones have disappeared after crossing the Mexico border, and community activist Eddie Canales is often the last hope to try to bring those missing back home. From filmmakers Jeff Bemiss, Lisa Molomot, and Jacob Bricca, Independent Lens: Missing in Brooks County will make its broadcast debut on January 31, 2022 at 10 p.m. The film will also be available to stream on the PBS Video app.

Sheriff’s Deputy outside a ranch in Texas
Brooks County Sheriff’s Deputy Don White outside the Ramirez Ranch gate in Brooks County, TX.

In an effort to deter migrants from crossing the Mexico-United States border, U.S. Border Patrol has intentionally structured a path for illegal travel across the border, but only through the most desolate and unforgiving terrain. However, this combative deterrence measure remains unsuccessful. Every year, large numbers of people continue to attempt the journey north, across the border, and into the desert, often leading to fatalities.

Canales runs the South Texas Human Rights Center, but he also holds an unofficial community role. As an activist private detective, he fields calls from families asking for his help, desperate to locate missing relatives. The documentary depicts two families searching for these loved ones: Homero Roman and Juan Maceda. Longtime U.S. resident Homero Roman was deported to Mexico after a traffic stop at age 27 because he was undocumented. After struggling to adjust in an unfamiliar country, Homero eventually tried to return to the U.S.—his home of two decades—but

Five members of latino family pose for photo
Family of missing person Homero Roman Gomez.

disappeared along the journey in Brooks County. Juan Maceda, who was faced with an impossible choice between lifelong poverty in Mexico or gang affiliation, went missing after he left to travel north across the border.

With migrant deaths along the Mexico-U.S. border at an all-time high this year, the timely documentary follows Canales as he searches for answers. “Missing in Brooks County” points a humanizing lens on the law enforcement agents, human rights workers, and activists.