Border Patrol conducts presentation at City Council meeting

Published: Jan. 21, 2020 at 11:04 PM CST
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A City Council invitation for Border Patrol to give a presentation on the agency's continued request for approval of a right-of-entry letter places several federal representatives on the spot.

According to the council, Border Patrol was not prepared, this as the presentation was not complete based on the questions some members of the council asked.

"We've had 72 agent assaults, illegal alien deaths, and nearly 3,000 rescue operations."

Some shocking statistics by Assistant Chief Patrol Agent, Jose Castillo, all to build his case to City Council to ask for something they've been denied in the past.

"As part of this coordination we have requested that the City of Laredo sign the right-of-entry that will allow us to conduct the surveys."

Paul Enriquez with the border wall team added why the access they're asking for is needed.

"To allow government personnel and contractors to access lands that are initially identified as being within that border wall alignment."

Border Patrol representatives did bring up a similar idea to the bulkhead in the downtown area, which city officials have lobbied for in the past with no success.

It would not be like that all along the border, as other parts would see a different measure.

"There will be Ballard Fence that will be running throughout the greater Laredo area. It will be 30 feet tall, it will have roads and it will have lighting."

After asking whether the wall would have openings or more details on rendition weren't available, some council members were not convinced.

"I was hoping that this presentation was going to be more substantive and it was going to answer our questions, but being in preliminary stages… I mean, I'm still in preliminary stages of making a decision tonight."

Some even bringing up the lack of trust for the government from a previous experience.

"Very recently we had a negative experience with the federal government, with the federal court in the immigration tent courts that we now have as the entry way to our city."

Citizens also expressed their opposition, asking for the council not to give access to the land.

"We urge you to hold the line and not sign the right of entry documents and to stand with us, the people to oppose this project by all means necessary."

In the end, an attorney with the U.S. government mentioned there would be other ways for the surveys to get done.

"If necessary, if something can't be worked out for right or entry, a condemnation action would be followed."

In the end, the City of Laredo kept their ground and said as of right now, Border Patrol's right of entry request on city land is denied.

Out of the 70 miles of planned border wall between Zapata and Webb County, BP says 40% of landowners have already signed right of entry letters.

The City of Laredo invited Border Patrol back for a future date, when they can provide more details and a broad presentation on their plans.

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