Mayor Addresses Security Prospects from Border Wall
LOS INDIOS – One Rio Grande Valley mayor wants the government to finish the job they started. He said gaps in the border fence are leading dangerous smugglers into his town.
Los Indios Mayor Rick Cavazos is talking about gaps where gates were supposed to be installed on the border fence. He said out of eight gaps in Los Indios, designed for gates to be installed, there are five yet to be built.
A simple phone call opens the gate on the border fence near Los Indios. Cavazos said there’s about six miles of fencing along Highway 281 near the town.
He’s concerned about the gaps left on the fence.
“We have eight of these proposed gate openings or gaps, only three have been constructed. So we’re looking for the five others to also be funded for the completion of this area,” the mayor said.
Cavazos said Los Indios needs all the protection it can get. They have two full time police officers and limited resources.
“We do have an occasional, we do have traffic that goes into the community. The smugglers also know that as long as these openings are the way they are, there are no gates here. They will exploit these vulnerabilities, in the border fence so once Border Patrol decides to construct the gates, it will push traffic elsewhere,” he said.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to find out why these gates weren’t built as designed.
In a statement, Southwest Border Branch Chief Carlos Diaz said, "Based on the Sector's assessment, currently in progress, there are areas that would benefit from a border wall, as well as additional agents and technology. There are many factors that go into the decision making process, including available funding, acquisition, current trends in illegal cross border activity, and legal requirements, so it would be premature to share specifics until those pieces have come together."
Juan Hernandez, a resident of Los Indios, said the gaps are easy to spot.
“Over there, there’s a part that hasn’t been finished still,” he said.
Lifelong resident Maria Garcia said gates or no gates, smugglers and those who cross the border illegally will find a way to cross through their town.
“They cross through those gaps. It would be good if they closed them, but if they don’t, they’ll still find a clear path,” Garcia said.
Cavazos said he wants the border fence to be completed before the government goes on to build another border barrier.
“That’s huge for a small community like ours, where, you know, we have limited budgets and limited resources, and this would really help secure our community,” he said.
There is a small Border Patrol station in Los Indios. Cavazos said residents there are calling on agents when they spot suspicious activity to help protect their town.
The border fence in the Valley currently runs from Brownsville to about Penitas.
A U.S. Border Patrol spokesman said it totals about 55 miles of fencing. There’s also currently about 3,000 agents that patrol the 316 miles of curved river in the RGV Sector.