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Homeowners Note Border Fence Gaps Pose Potential Risk

5 years 10 months 5 days ago Wednesday, January 25 2017 Jan 25, 2017 January 25, 2017 6:27 PM January 25, 2017 in News

ROMA – People living along the border in the Rio Grande Valley are facing some uncertain after the president signed executive orders for a border wall.

Homeowners that live near the border said they sometimes witness illegal activity.

“In the past six months I’ve seen two times that people cross with packages, bundles. It’s 15, 14-year-olds about six, seven kids at time,” Benjamin Cisneros said.

He said he was digging a hole for a piñata post for his children when the teenagers crossed the border fence gap. He recognized the teens weren’t from the neighborhood.

“Well, they were running without a shirt first of all. It was not a small bag to where it was clothing. You’re talking about big packages,” Cisneros recalled. “Wrapped in cardboard with some bungee cords around it and they’re carrying it. So you know it’s drugs.”

He said the gaps cause more illegal activity on the U.S. side in certain areas.

“I don’t think the fence is helping at all,” he said.

The Rio Grande border fence ends in the city of Penitas. It leaves large gaps from that area to El Paso. One of the cities that sit right on the Rio Grande is Roma.

“When I first started living here… The brush was like to up here, then I began to clean. There are times that they come,” Jose Armando Loera Loera, a homeowner in Roma, said.

Guard dogs protect the man’s home. The dogs are positioned around his property. His backyard is the Rio Grande.

“You can hear problems on the other side of the river, shootings and all. But it’s calm around here. There hasn’t been armed people crossing into our land, like in other cases I’ve heard. We haven’t seen that,” Loera Loera said.

He said he’s more worried about a fence going through his property.

“It might take up from my land and I can go to the river without any worry. It’s calm. Maybe adding a fence will mark our limits and leave us confined,” he said.

Roma’s city manager Crisanto Salinas said behind Roma bluffs observation deck is the starting point for a new border fence. He said a plan is already in place.

“We’re waiting for their call,” he said.

Salinas is waiting for the government to tell him if they’re going to install the border fence.

“Virtual cameras or drones or other types of technology which is out there that can probably do a more cost effective job than a fence that you’re going to have to be maintaining it and repairing it,” he said.

Salinas said the fence will go through part of Loera Loera’s backyard. It will also go through the city’s water plant.

“We got notified and we filed a lawsuit against the state government because basically we’re telling them that we need accessibility to our plant,” he said.

Salinas and other Roma homeowners continue to wait for an answer.

The executive order signed in D.C. on Wednesday doesn’t say where the physical border barrier construction will start.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke with a UTRGV political science assistant professor who said an executive order is a set of directions for different federal agencies to follow. They explained an executive order becomes law once signed by the president, but it can be challenged by Congress. 

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