September 13, 2011
by Farrah Fazal
PROGRESO - All along the border wall are openings that smugglers use. Illegals also go through them. Smugglers see an opportunity in the openings, but not for much longer.
“The bad guys like to use the access points,” says Border Patrol spokesman Dan Milian. “Once we put the gates, it’s going to increase security for the residents and push the activity out to the underdeveloped remote areas.”
Milian says the holes in the wall will start going away in the Valley next month. Eighty gates on the 95 miles of fence will cover the openings. Milian says land owners and law enforcement will unlock the gates two different ways.
“It’s going to be a keypad entry; every person will have access to the code,” says Milian. “Within each unit, they have the radio system. When they hit the mike, it will have a frequency which will communicate with the receiver and open the gate.”
Milian says the gate could be open for periods of time if farmers need more access to their land.
“If it will stop the traffic on our property, we welcome that,” says Othal Brand, general manager and president of Water District No. 3 in McAllen.
Brand says if you're going to build a fence, you need to build the gates. Not all farmers feel the way he does. Only a handful showed up to hear the Border Patrol's plans during a recent public meeting.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS asked a Border Patrol spokesman what happens if a smuggler decides to hold a gun to a farmer's head to get him to open the door. He said it's a tough situation. He also says agents plan on patrolling the gates 24/7, 365 days a year.