Two or three years ago, Ted Poe was on a tour of the SW border area (south of El Paso about 30 miles). There were some narrow metal bridges crossing the river and he threw a fit about those and I believe they were removed.
Now they want to open up this crossing again. Ever since this crossing was closed, the people (on both sides of the river in this area) have been complaining about having to travel 16 hours to get across. Apparently someone complained enough to get this opened up again. Bill Brooks, the public information officer at the BP Big Bend Sector (formerly called the Marfa Sector), is in favor of opening this crossing as are others. I think they have been talked into opening this crossing because of the remaining population of the little village on the other side and the hardships of those living there. Those Mexicans made their meager living on the tourists that would cross over and eat and buy handmade Mexican items and they would come across to the U.S. side to buy groceries.
Ordinarily the BP would not be allowed to patrol on National Park land...but the House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 1505: National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act in October that has given the BP authority to patrol on NP land (within 100 miles of the border). Conservationists were not happy about it and complained about it being a form of government "land grabbing" and would cause a lot of damage to the parks...but apparently they haven't been to the borders in AZ and witnessed the tons of trash and garbage left by the illegals and smugglers!! I guess the Big Bend BP want to take advantage of this access to park land before the government changes its mind!!
I feel like a lot of others....that this is just going to open up another can of worms for the smugglers...and make it easier for the poor Mexicans to slip across with "a card" and then disappear into the U.S. like millions of others. The Mexicans have been coming across in this area for many years when the river is low enough to wade or walk across....which is probably dry now because of the drought. I believe the river between El Paso and Presidio is still being used by the smugglers....although it may have slowed down some after more and better armed agents were brought in.
I sent the article on this "plan" to Cornyn, AG Greg Abbott, our federal and state reps and senators. I would suggest contacting Perry's office and complaining about this. Since he is running for president...he will be more inclined to listen if he thinks he can get our support. He has been sounding very strong about securing the borders....and this would be a good time to complain to him about the crossing. The $2.3 million cost alone during a bad economy should be enough not to open it.
The Park Service started work on this facility the end of October and are saying it should be completed by spring (unless their plans are "changed")....so they are already building it. While it may be too late to stop the initial construction....complaints can be sent to:
William E. Wellman
Big Bend National Park Superintendent.
Big Bend National Park
P.O. Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834
Headquarters & Visitor Information
E-mail contact form at:
John J. Smietana, Jr. is the Chief Patrol Agent at the Border Patrol Big Bend Sector (formerly called the Marfa Sector) in Marfa, TX, and can be reached at:
(432) 729-5200 or 1-888-536-6204
Bill Brooks is the public information officer for the BP Big Bend Sector and can be reached at: (432) 729-5200 or 1-888-536-6204
Big Bend Border Patrol Sector
P.O. Box I
Marfa, TX 79843
From Pat Kennedy, WTCCC, Midland via e-mail
Read article here.