Saturday, September 24, 2011

County Residents Still have Questions About Border Wall

September 23, 2011
by Camaron Abundes

LOS EBANOS - People living near the Rio Grande in northern Hidalgo and Starr counties still have many questions about the border wall. The federal government has yet to figure out where it plans to build 14 more miles of border fence.

Ignacio Gutierrez has lived in Los Ebanos for 34 years in the home he built. Over the last six years, he has heard a lot about changes coming, changes-in the shape of a border fence.

"The way of life we live is the way of life. If you put a wall, the problem won't be for us but for the people who want to come here," says Gutierrez.

Gutierrez says he's not sure the wall - and the multi-millions of dollars it will cost to build it - in this region is worth the money. He says he does feel the impact of Border Patrol agents constantly keeping watch on this sleepy little town.

Fourteen miles of required fencing is expected to go up in Starr County, but that won't happen until there's an agreement between the International Boundary and Water Commission and the Department of Homeland Security.

A spokesperson for DHS says the IBWC has already completed a hydrology study of the land. The study was to help experts understand the impact of the wall on the flood plain. They have yet to sign off on any final plans. That means just about everything about the construction remains in limbo.

Gutierrez doesn't know if the wall will ever come or on which side of the fence he'll find his beloved home. There's just one thing he's certain about.

"Bad people that want to do bad will find a way to keep doing it," says Gutierrez.

He says people who want to enter the United States and move drugs and illegal immigrants will keep looking for ways to do it.

Another thing still up in the air is if the federal government will step in to buy additional lands to build the wall in those areas.

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