In a recent U.S. Border Patrol assessment, President Donald Trump’s border wall will have about 130 miles worth of gaps. It’s not what the president promised on the campaign trail, but some of the current gaps on the Texas-Mexico border will be filled with gates and additional barriers.
"The problem here is that you have two different openings here, so that’s where we have more activity going in,” Los Indios Police Chief Jose De La Rosa said.
In this agricultural town of roughly 1,100 residents, a border fence bisects through portions of crop lands. But in some areas, something is missing.
“I had the same questions when I came in. I mean, it was something that everyone asked, ‘What’s going on here?’”' said Chief De La Rosa, pointing to gaps in a small section of the border fence near the Rio Grande River.
The 28-year-old Los Indios police chief leads the town’s 1-year-old police department. He says that they’ve been busy from day one trying to contain the flow of illegal smuggling through border fence gaps.
“It’s hard because you have the two openings here. Basically, there are no lights here. It’s dark at night, the city is about half a mile from here, and the river is also close by,” Chief De La Rosa noted.
Pictures released by Border Patrol show two recent instances where smugglers were attempting to use the gaps in Los Indios to get drugs across the border. De La Rosa says that his new department has helped reduce suspicious activity calls by 60 percent. But numerous gaps have left border communities vulnerable to cartel activity.
“We had some other gaps here in Los Indios,” he said. “Customs and Border Protection came in and they put in some gates, and it has worked.”
The police chief is referring to steel vehicle barriers installed at the end of a dirt road that leads to the Rio Grande. These are just some examples of temporary solutions that Border Patrol has resorted to while Congress decides on funding this week. The Border Patrol announced that they will be adding reinforcements to fill critical gaps.
The plan is to replace 16 miles of pedestrian barriers in California, more than 20 miles of vehicle and pedestrian barriers in El Paso, Texas, and 35 new gates in the Rio Grande Valley, where Los Indios is situated.
All of the areas designated for improvement are constantly exploited and lacking in border infrastructure.
Customs and Border Protection haven't specified which gaps would be sealed with a gate or what the gates will look like. Chief De La Rosa hopes that the gaps in Los Indios will be some of them.