December 13, 2011 by staff
Border Crossing, The U.S. has proposed to Mexico the construction of an unmanned border crossing access point in a federal park in west Texas, a plan that has critics scratching their head in a time of heightened concern over border security.
The access point would be built in Big Bend National Park, and it would allow people from the remote Mexican village of Boquillas del Carmen to come into the U.S. legally by scanning their documents and checking in with a customs officer who could be as far as 100 miles away.
Supporters say the entry point is needed to allow the tiny town access to U.S. commerce. They also say it would cut down on environmental damage and likely would not be used by criminal interests.
“People that want to be engaged in illegal activities along the border, ones that are engaged in those activities now, they’re still going to do it,” William Wellman, Big Bend National Park’s superintendent, told The Associated Press. “But you’d have to be a real idiot to pick the only place with security in 300 miles of the border to try to sneak across.”
The proposed location is remote. Customs and Border Protection officials, who would operation the entry point, say it’s the safest way to allow access to the U.S. for the town’s residents. Currently they must travel 240 miles by road to the nearest point of entry.
The access point would cost $2.3 million, AP said. It wasn’t clear if both the U.S. and Mexican governments would share the cost.
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican member of the House Homeland Security committee, said Washington’s border resources could be better spent protecting the country.
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