Advertisement

Our Opinion: Barriers to smugglers

June 04, 2001

The U.S. Border Patrol has been taking innovative steps to keep smugglers off roadways where they endanger the lives of their human cargo and others.

For the last year the Border Patrol has been placing barriers in the county's eastern desert to keep smugglers off Interstate 8. The interstate is only a quarter mile from the border and there is no border fence in the area. It is only open desert, so it is an ideal area for smugglers to try to drive from Mexico into the Imperial Valley and onto the interstate.

It is difficult to cover the eastern desert with the manpower the Border Patrol has. Thus, it makes sense for the Border Patrol to come up with ways to bolster its efforts. From what we hear from Border Patrol officials, the barriers are making a difference.

The barriers send one more message to smugglers — it's not going to be so easy to make it through the Imperial Valley, even in its most remote areas.

Advertisement

It is important to note the Border Patrol is continuing to place barriers in the area. If vehicles have made it onto the interstate, we would expect it is because the barrier project is not finished.

The concern is if smugglers do make it onto the roadways, they often have an order to drive like madmen when pursued by law enforcement. Smuggling organizations know if their drivers drive in a dangerous matter, local authorities often will stop the pursuit. The Border Patrol and other organizations that do stop pursuits usually are wise to do so. It is not worth making a dangerous situation worse. Still, there is a tradeoff because more smugglers are willing to risk lives to escape.

They must be kept off the roadways. That is what barriers can help do. With an increasing Border Patrol force, more technology and devices such as the barriers, it might be possible to take one more step in the battle against illegal immigration and save lives at the same time.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles
|
|
|