Letter: Border Update

Our family lives near the Texas border and must pass border patrol check points periodically when traveling the state. This gives us a front row seat to see what is happening along the southern border.

We have noticed recent border patrol changes and wanted to give your readers an update.

In the past few years, we have been through many different border patrol check points. For those not familiar with border patrol checkpoints, there are U.S. border stations immediately upon entering from Mexico. There are also border patrol stations located along the Texas border as you drive nearby the border.

When we visit the popular tourist destination of South Padre Island, our family in west Texas, or travel along the highway near our home, we are routinely subject to questioning at each check point. Multiple cameras take pictures of your vehicle and everyone inside, while dogs sniff for drugs during questioning by border agents.

While going through a border patrol station last weekend we noticed an attitude change of the Border Patrol agents that was worth mentioning. In the past several years, as you entered the single file car line to be stopped and checked for questioning, the border agent would ask “Are you all U.S. citizens?” If you answered “yes”, they waved your car through.

Then as the prior administration began their catch and release of illegal aliens, the mood at the border patrols went south (no pun intended). With little Federal support, the agents then began asking “Are you all Texans?” and again if the answer was “yes”, they waved you through.

Finally, during the last few years when it was your turn at the front of the line, if they saw you were a blond, blue-eyed Texan they just waived you through without so much as a question. All that has changed.

Last weekend, our border patrol check was unusual, simply due to the sheer number of agents at the border station, typically just a handful. On my left there were at least six to eight agents alongside the station talking near a patrol car. The few agents not working the cars were walking briskly from one area to another. To our right the enclosed office had an agent standing up drinking coffee, eyes on the cars. When we arrived at the front of the line, I said with a smile “So I hear you have a new boss”, to which the agent smiled brightly and said “why yes we do”.

My husband asked when they get their new “toys” and when the new 5,000 agents would be on the job. He said excitedly that he didn’t know when but hoped it would be soon. The excitement in his voice and enthusiasm about their new leader wasn’t all that had changed. They were really doing their job, not just a cursory question of status.

The car in front of me had its trunk open with an agent searching the contents; another agent was asking real questions and another agent walked around the car with the drug sniffing dog. This took a few minutes, whereas typically it was less than 10 seconds. The agents were really energized and taking their jobs seriously again. The station patrol agent asked if he could open the back of my SUV and check the contents. A second agent walked the dog sniffing us for drugs, and we were asked if we were U.S. citizens.

Clearly, the new President supporting the border patrol is having a positive effect on the agency and its agents. With a new pro-agency boss, more funds and additional hiring have made a once demoralized agency suddenly get back in the game.

Border patrol stations are our first line of defense against violent drug cartels and others who intend to harm U.S. citizens. Please give them the respect they deserve. God Bless America! – Sophia in TX