Posted: Jul 17, 2014 6:37 PM
Updated: Jul 17, 2014 6:41 PM
WESLACO - The Texas Department of Public Safety trooper surge along the Rio Grande Valley has drawn mixed reactions from residents and business owners.
The $1.3-million-a-week surge seeks to close gaps in patrols and cut cartel smuggling routes, state officials said.
A Progreso Lakes couple said they see constant illegal activity near their home.
"I call it my window into the illegal activity ... because that's what you see," the woman said.
The couple moved into their house because it was located in a relatively quiet area.
Now, a sugarcane crop and a field of sunflowers separate their front yard from those who cross through the open gates of the border fence.
"People hide in there and then one comes out and says, ‘it's clear,'" the woman said
"They come out with bundles, like pillow-size bundles. They cross over to the brush area and from there somebody picks them up," the woman said.
Area residents said the sugarcane field serves as a hiding spot for smugglers and illegal immigrants.
The couple said the illegal traffic has died down some in the past few months.
"There's DPS, there's a lot of Border Patrol. That's kind of keeping them away," the husband said.
A businesswoman in Roma says the DPS surge is doing more harm than good in her area.
"People are scared to go out. I mean, 41 (DPS troopers) from here to La Joya ... that's a lot," Luz Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the surge is affecting businesses.
"Even people from Mexico don't come to shop," Rodriguez said.
Less than a mile from her store, smugglers cross the river in broad daylight.
Rodriguez said the DPS patrols are not helping.
"I just see that it's hurting businesses. I don't feel safer, I just feel that they're here to give traffic tickets," she said.
In spite of conflicting opinions the troopers will remain for at least five more months with the goal of protecting the border.