March 21, 2011
by Manuel de la Rosa
BROWNSVILLE - Some residents living near the border fence say it hasn't stopped human and drug smuggling.
Joel De La Garza runs a grocery store on Oklahoma Street. He has owned it for several years. De La Garza used to see immigrants on a daily basis. Now, he rarely sees them because of the fence right in front of his business.
"We do see some of them but not as many as we used to before the wall went up. The reason why they aren't coming is the opening is quite far away from here," says De La Garza.
Many residents we spoke to see immigrants backpacking with what is believed to be drugs. It's usually at dawn or early in the morning. Law enforcement officials say drug smugglers are doing this due to the security at the border.
The border fence was supposed to slow down human and drug trafficking. The Border Patrol reports they aren't catching as many immigrants.
Federal authorities say there is proof in the numbers the wall is working. Residents who are on the front line don't see it the same way.
When the gates are installed, it may change the smuggling efforts, but for now, these residents say the smugglers have adapted to the border fence.