The young man told Todd that his sister, 18-year-old Esmeralda, was in trouble.

“I mean, she can hardly walk, she’s very dazed,” recalled Todd.

The migrants took shelter in Todd’s car while she called and texted a friend who is the legal counsel for the local U.S. Border Patrol, asking for advice. Before that friend could reply, a sheriff’s deputy showed up. The deputy called in the U.S. Border Patrol.

An agent was soon reading Todd her Miranda rights. Eight days later, a Department of Homeland Security investigator accompanied by a Texas Ranger arrived at Todd’s office with a search warrant for her cellphone. Todd says she was told she’d have the phone back in a matter of hours.

“It makes people have to question, ‘Can I be compassionate’?”

Todd’s phone was returned 53 days later.