Cameron Co. Judge Shares Alternative Border Wall Plans

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BROWNSVILLE - A Cameron County judge returned from Washington, D.C. where he tried to talk the federal government out of building a border wall.

Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino said building a wall will cost billions and sour the commercial relationship with Mexico. He said the economic impact would trickle down to consumers in the U.S.

Trevino said the government needs to move to newer technology, better staffing at ports of entry and improve the terrains Border Patrol agents watch over.

“If you build a 20-foot concrete wall, well guess what they are going to do? They’re going to build a 22-foot ladder. They are doing it already, they are going to dig underneath, they’ll utilize other things and they’ll be more aggressive at the ports of entry,” he said.

Trevino said he wants to refocus funds to improve the strategies that do work. He also learned the equipment used to patrol the Brownsville area is about 20 years old.

“I was disappointed to find out that much of the technology that’s in place here in the Brownsville sector hasn’t been upgraded since 1997,” he said. “Start here. Make sure that Border Patrol and CBP and everyone else has the most up-to-date tools available at their disposal.”

Fifty-six miles of border fencing already runs through Cameron and Hidalgo Counties.

The judge said clearing out invasive plants, such as carrizo cane, may eliminate hiding spots for criminals. He also suggested the paving of river roads to help agents respond faster to criminal traffic.

Trevino wants the Rio Grande, a 1,885-mile natural border, to be considered first.

“The development and construction of the Brownsville Weir Plant, which has been in the plans for decades, would raise the water level,” he said. “It would enhance security and allow storage of water and make it that much harder for individuals to cross at the river.”

He said the ports of entry also need to be better manned. He said drug and human smugglers aren’t always circumventing these ports.

“They cross over at our ports of entry. So, if our ports of entry were better staffed, with either surveillance, the K-9 dogs and all those particular tools that can be utilized, why can’t we continue to invest in those that do work and expand on it?” he questioned.

Trevino said he hopes Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly returns to the Rio Grande Valley soon. He said he wishes to share his ideas with him before the plans for a concrete wall are finalized.

The judge also mentioned the recent controversy over sanctuary cities.

Although internet searches classify the city of Brownsville as a sanctuary city, the judge denied the classification. He said no city in Cameron County has ever signed any ordinance indicating such a status.

Trevino said the county will take legal action if there’s any efforts to take away federal funding because of a sanctuary classification. 

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