Border security

Texas border residents mixed over whether they need a finished wall

Texas border residents say they want stronger border security, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a wall

 

If President Trump gets his way, there will soon be a complete border wall in Hudspeth County, Texas -- and while not everybody claims they need it, most do say it could be a big help for law enforcement.

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"It will make it easier for border patrol to catch illegals. And I'm not opposed to immigration, but I want legal immigration," said Craige Miller, who's lived in Hudspeth County for 65 years and whose farm sits directly on the border.

The Millers have a family farm in Fort Hancock. Half of it has a border fence, half does not. The Millers have goats, horses, and grow cotton. The family does a lot of the work with the help of a small staff.

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According to the Millers, workers set up five miles of fence in their backyard during the Bush administration and it's helped deter illegal immigration. They wish the wall was completed during that project. Their biggest concern is drug trafficking.

"It stopped the illegals passing through considerably," said Miller.

The numbers back him up. According to Border Patrol data for the El Paso sector, which covers El Paso County, Hudspeth County and New Mexico, there were more than 122,000 Border Patrol apprehensions in 2005 and 2006. The number dropped sharply in 2007 to 75,464, and again in 2008 to 30,312, bottoming out at 9,678 in 2012. All of those areas have fencing.

Fencing in Texas begins in El Paso and continues 40 miles outside of town until it ends near Tornillo. There's an 11-mile gap until it picks up again for five miles in Fort Hancock, right at the Millers' farm. After the five miles in Fort Hancock there's a 25-mile gap and the fencing goes on and off down the border.

For much of Hudspeth County, the only thing between the U.S. and Mexico is the border patrol, and some people think that's enough.

"It doesn't make sense to spend millions of dollars on a physical barrier and then have the upkeep and the maintenance when it's totally unnecessary because there's very little activity," said Silvestre Reyes, former chief of El Paso Border Patrol.

But while the Millers are for the creation of the wall, what they ultimately want is stronger border security. They believe that can be done with more border patrol enforcement. 

"I think there should be a wall in certain places. In the metropolitan areas where they're highly populated," said Jim Ed Miller. "But out here in the middle of nowhere, we don't need the wall; we need people on the levy, on the border, guarding it."

Ray Bogan is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in El Paso, Texas. Follow him on twitter: @RayBogan