Border Agents Weigh In On Border Wall’s Impact

Thursday, June 11th 2020, 10:38 pm
By: Clayton Cummins

News 9 has been tracking how crime and drug activity along the United States and Mexico border impacts our Oklahoma neighborhoods.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents sidy Oklahoma is a direct drug trafficking pipeline for illegal immigrants from Mexico. 

The border wall was designed to reduce that activity and agents will tell you the wall in El Paso is doing it's job.

“We learned quickly that the Ballard style fencing was pretty effective with the anti-skid plate,” said Agent Mario Escalante of the El Paso Sector.

Coming in at 18 feet tall, the concrete filled steel beams were installed in 2016. Decades ago, only a chain linked fence separated the United States from Mexico. 

“It takes seconds for someone to just run across,” said Escalante. “They can run across, hide into the housing, and we wouldn't be able to see them apprehend them and we pretty much would lose that apprehension per say.” 

Across the river is Ciudad Juárez. It is a totally different country, but both communities rely on each other to keep the bad under control. 

“What happens here is associated with criminal organizations, the criminal organizations exploit the people that come here,” said Escalante. “Criminal organizations profit off the people, they put them at risk, they put them in danger.”

Three hours to the southwest in Marfa Texas, the only barriers are natural ones.

Donna Poenisch works at the local hotel. Her way into town has been interrupted more than once by aliens crossing illegally.

“I actually opened my front door and they were right there on the porch attempting to come in,” said Poenisch. “I don't know how I managed to close my door. I have two dogs in my house and that is what detoured them from getting in the house.”

A lot of work goes into protecting the homeland. It's a commitment taken seriously.

“They (border patrol agents) carry food, they carry blankets so when they do come across a lot of these illegals, they are giving them food, they are giving them water they are giving them blankets,” said Poenish. “It’s not a case of ‘Oh I caught ten, I'm going to take them off to jail.’ They do treat them good and I don't think it’s right that these stories don't come out."

There may be a wall that separates El Paso from Juarez but it’s not a wall strong enough to effect the culture between two sister cities.