Work along border continues on private land
While most of the construction of the border wall has been suspended following President Joe Biden’s executive order, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has continued work on privately owned land in Mission.
The land owner tells Channel 5 News that his family agreed to let CBP take down and remove the brush on their land along Schubach Road between Military Parkway and Old Military Road in Mission.
He says it cost them nothing, and would greatly help him and his property because immigrants who crossed the border illegally often hide in the brush and have in the past cut up his fence, leaving his cattle to wonder off on the road.
"The aliens will come over the levy, and then just skirt that brush line, and they'll hide there waiting for vehicles to come in for smugglers to come in and load up," said CBP Agent Christian Alvarez.
Alvarez says CBP picks the locations that are hot spots for human smuggling, and that the money comes from their budget.
The land is just short walk from the National Butterfly Center, an area that environmentalists say is important for threatened wildlife species like the ocelot.
"This is some of the best remaining habitat for wildlife, in the entire region, and that's why it's so critical that we preserve it,” said Laiken Jordahl of the Center for Biological Diversity.
Congressman Henry Cuellar, who has fought against the wall since its inception and secured language in Congress to specifically protect the National Butterfly Center, says there has to be a balance between securing the border and protecting the environment.
"At one place or another, when you talk about border security, you have to have something at the borders, otherwise you have open borders,” Cuellar said. “But I agree, we got to do it in the most environmentally safe way."
Since the land is private, and the owners willingly gave CBP access, Cuellar says nothing can be done.
Currently there are no other projects in the area.