Special Report: Gaps along Border Fence
NEAR LOS INDIOS - Gaps in the border fence run throughout the U.S.-Mexico border. A proposal out of Washington, D.C., wants to fill in gaps in the Rio Grande Valley and the rest of the frontier.
The border fence is one of many tools the government uses to secure it. Border Patrol agents said the gaps are used to funnel illegal traffic into more rural areas. Others who live near them said otherwise.
It only takes a couple of minutes to escape through a gap in the border fence in the Valley.
In one instance, drug smugglers from Mexico used a gap near San Benito to get away. They were able to get out of a van and cross the river. Once on the other side, they fired at Border Patrol agents.
A couple of miles away from the place are two large gaps near Los Indios.
Los Indios Mayor Rick Cavasos explained a part of the fence was not completed by the government.
“I’m not sure what happened there, whether it was a funding issue but the gaps are still here and the purpose of these gaps where for the gates,” he said.
He said those gates would help secure the area, but they never became a reality.
Cavasos, a former Border Patrol agent supervisor, said the town’s population is about 1,100. They only count with a one-person police department.
“So do we have apprehensions here from time to time? Yes, we do,” he said.
Cavasos said the gaps are working.
“Because of the way the structure in these gaps, the traffic is funneled through these gaps opening right now, and they’re heavily patrolled,” he said.
The mayor showed us what the fence is supposed to look like. It’s equipped with sensors, lighting and many other deterrents to halt someone’s crossing.
Cavasos hopes the new administration will move forward and “install these gates to further secure the area.”
The openings don’t end there. They weave in and out along Brownville’s border fence. Homeowner Benjamin Cisneros lives in front of a gap.
“People already know where the gaps are on the other side,” he said.
Cisneros said they never know when intruders will surprise them.
“All of a sudden I see like six kids crossing. You know, it was a shock to me because I have never seen it before,” he said.
Cisneros said he doesn’t fear the border fence gap. It’s the people crossing illegally who makes him think twice.
“They jump the street, a van comes from this side, from Alaska Road, picks them up in a corner and they take off,” he said.
Cisneros said he sees what can happen if there’s no physical barrier in the area. He still wonders how effective one might be at stopping those who intend to do wrongdoing.
For now, the Texas border fence will remain the same but its controversy continues.
People on the border said they know their lives, land and families could be impacted.
President Trump’s executive order on immigration suggested the executive branch should come up with a study on border security by July.
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