Border Patrol/Opening the Border?

Border Patrol/Opening the Border?

By Sandy Long

There is still a huge push to open our southern border with Mexico to unlimited crossings by Mexican trucks. The initial border program was stopped earlier this year, but Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation wants to open the border fully and thought to have this done by June. This did not come to pass as of yet, but it is still on the burner.

All of us who run along the borders have encountered border patrol check points and seen their vehicles running everywhere in the Border States. What are they doing one might ask and how would fully opening the border affect them and us?

A sampling of the news releases from the Customs and Border Patrol website for July:

July 23, 2009 A Border Patrol canine team working at the checkpoint on Highway 77 alerted to drugs at in a gray Chevy Silverado. An inspection of the vehicle revealed 59 bundles of marijuana, concealed behind lead sheets. 115.8 pounds of marijuana.

 Calexico, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers foiled three narcotics smuggling attempts worth close to $1 million during a 2-1/2-hour period yesterday afternoon at the Calexico downtown port of entry, officials announced.

July 20, 2009 Hidalgo, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at Hidalgo/Reynosa International Bridge seized close to 207 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of close to $6.6 million, early Friday morning. July 17, 2009 Laredo, Texas –

On July 16, Border Patrol agents had a busy day with rescue efforts and narcotic seizures as the driving forces. Agents manning the Interstate 35 checkpoint performed an immigration inspection of the driver of a tractor-trailer. During the inspection, a Border Patrol canine team detected the possible presence of hidden people or contraband in the trailer. Agents searched the trailer and discovered a total of 32 undocumented migrants from El Salvador, Brazil, and Mexico locked inside. The driver of the tractor trailer was arrested for human smuggling charges and $12,500 was seized.

In moving from rescues to intercepting narcotics, agents assigned to the Laredo North Station made a large Marijuana seizure at the immigration checkpoint located on Interstate 35 north of Laredo. As they performed an immigration inspection on the driver of a tractor-trailer, a Border Patrol canine team detected the possible presence of hidden contraband or people. Agents searched the trailer and found 31 cellophane-wrapped bundles. The bundles contained marijuana with a total weight of 842.7 pounds.

July 16, 2009 Calexico, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico cargo facility yesterday seized about 125 pounds of powder and crystal methamphetamine, worth an estimated $1,350,000. At approximately 10 a.m. July 15, a 24-year-old male Mexican citizen, and resident of Mexicali, drove an empty, refrigerated tractor-trailer up to the Calexico East port of entry, seeking to enter the United States.

CBP officers referred the truck for a gamma ray inspection, which revealed anomalies in the trailer’s front wall. When CBP officers screened the truck with a human/narcotics detection dog, the dog alerted to the same area of the truck. CBP officers searched the front wall of the trailer, and removed the coverings for the cooling unit. Underneath, they discovered a specially built compartment containing wrapped plastic packages. There were 26 packages containing almost 120 pounds of powdered methamphetamine and three packages containing about four and a half pounds of crystal methamphetamine, also known as “ice.”

During July alone, there were well over 20 incidences of the Border Patrol seizing drugs being smuggled into the USA. Along with those drug related busts, the Border Patrol also caught endangered species smugglers, weapons smugglers, sex offenders, identity thieves, counterfeiters of both materials and money, murder suspects and other criminals.

Opening the border fully to Mexican trucks will not only intensify the smuggling of people, drugs and other illegal things into the USA, but will stretch our Border Patrol too thin to continue to do their job as well as they have been doing. Allowing Mexican trucks to run freely in the USA is much more than about safety or even the possibility of lowering already low freight rates, if passed it is going to increase the ability for smuggling and this cannot be good for our economy or our families.

Contact your representatives in Washington D.C. and voice your concerns and also your appreciation of the good job the Border Patrol officers are doing.

For Senate members The Honorable (senator’s full name here) U.S. Senate Washington, DC 20510

For House of Representative members The Honorable (representative’s full name here) U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

Phone number for Congress (202) 224-3121

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