Last Updated:November 27 @ 11:19 am

Obama admin proposes unmanned border crossing with Mexico

By Christopher Sherman

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, Texas (AP) - The bloody drug war in Mexico shows no sign of relenting. Neither do calls for tighter border security amid rising fears of spillover violence.

This hardly seems a time the U.S. would be willing to allow people to cross the border legally from Mexico without a customs officer in sight. But in this rugged, remote West Texas terrain where wading across the shallow Rio Grande undetected is all too easy, federal authorities are touting a proposal to open an unmanned port of entry as a security upgrade.

By the spring, kiosks could open up in Big Bend National Park allowing people from the tiny Mexican town of Boquillas del Carmen to scan their identity documents and talk to a customs officer in another location, at least 100 miles away.

The crossing, which would be the nation's first such port of entry with Mexico, has sparked opposition from some who see it as counterintuitive in these days of heightened border security. Supporters say the crossing would give the isolated Mexican town long-awaited access to U.S. commerce, improve conservation efforts and be an unlikely target for criminal operations.

"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," said William Wellman, Big Bend National Park's superintendent. "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 crossing from Boquillas del Carmen leads to a vast expanse of rolling scrub, cut by sandy-floored canyons and violent volcanic rock outcroppings. The Chihuahuan desert wilderness is home to mountain lions, black bears and roadrunners, sparsely populated by an occasional camper and others visiting the 800,000-acre national park.

Customs and Border Protection, which would run the port of entry, says the proposal is a safe way to allow access to the town's residents, who currently must travel 240 road miles to the nearest legal entry point. It also would allow park visitors to visit the town.

If the crossing is approved, Border Patrol would have eight agents living in the park in addition to the park's 23 law enforcement rangers.

"I think it's actually going to end up making security better," CBP spokesman William Brooks said.

"Once you've crossed you're still not anywhere. You've got a long ways to go and we've got agents who are in the area. We have agents who patrol. We have checkpoints on the paved roads leading away from the park."

A public comment period runs through Dec. 27 on the estimated $2.3 million project, which has support at the highest levels of government from both countries.

But U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican member of the House Homeland Security committee, questioned the wisdom of using resources to make it easier to cross the border.

"We need to use our resources to secure the border rather than making it easier to enter in locations where we already have problems with illegal crossings," McCaul said in an email. "There is more to the oversight of legal entry than checking documents. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) needs to be physically present at every point of entry in order to inspect for contraband, detect suspicious behavior and, if necessary, act on what they encounter."

While CBP will run the port of entry, the National Park Service is the driver behind the project, which it hopes will help conservation efforts on both sides of the border. Even as the National Park Service has increased cooperation with its Mexican counterpart, joint conservation has been limited by the inability of personnel to cross the border without making a circuitous 16-hour drive, Wellman said.

So the National Park Service is building the contact station just above the Rio Grande. It will house CBP kiosks where crossers will scan in their documents and talk to a customs officer in Presidio, the nearest port of entry, or another remote location. Park service employees will staff the station, offering information about the park and guiding people through the process.

Similar ports of entry are already in operation on remote parts of the border with Canada.

"We think we can do this without doing any damage to national security and possibly enhance security along the border by having better intelligence, better communication with people in Mexico," Wellman said.

The crossing would also restore a long-running relationship between the park, its visitors and the residents of Boquillas del Carmen, the town of adobe dwellings set a short distance from the river in Mexico.

For years, U.S. tourists added an international dimension to their park visit by wading or ferrying in a rowboat across the shallow Rio Grande to the town. There they bought handicrafts and tacos, providing much-needed cash in the isolated community.

But US officials discouraged such informal crossings in 2002 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks prompted calls for tighter border security. Without access to tourists or supplies on the U.S. side, the town of just more than 100 people has seen a 42 percent drop in population from 2000 to 2010.

Gary Martin, who manages the Rio Grande Village store at a nearby park campground, recalls many Mexican residents crossing the river to pick up groceries and other necessities.

"We're their supply," Martin said. "They don't have any electricity over there. So they would come here and buy frozen chicken, cake mixes and things that they couldn't get over there."

Martin tried to stock food items Boquillas del Carmen residents wanted, such as eggs and big sacks of beans.

"After the border closed, well, I got rid of most of my food and went back to gifts because I wasn't making any money," Martin said. He estimated about 40 percent of the store's revenue came from Boquillas residents.

Few have risked crossing to the store since. "If they get caught over here they get shipped off," he said. "They get deported all the way to Ojinaga and then they've got to find their way home. It's not really worth it."

Still, most days some Boquillas del Carmen residents wade across the river a short distance downstream of the old crossing and scramble up to a paved overlook perched high above the river.

On boulders near the parking spots they lay out painted walking sticks, scorpions and roadrunners crafted from copper wire and colorful beads. Each craftsman's work occupies a different rock and operates on the honor system with the hope tourists will drop four or five dollars in their jar.

"Sometimes we don't sell anything," said Boquillas del Carmen resident Guillermo Gonzalez Diaz. "Sometimes we sell one." And other times authorities confiscate everything.

Gonzalez, a 34-year-old father of three, described his town as "very sad, very hard" and said there was no work. Without access to the Rio Grande Village store, residents depend on a bus that runs once a week to Melchor Muzquiz, a larger town about 150 miles away, for supplies.

A small military presence protects the town from the drug-related violence that has engulfed other Mexican border towns. Now with news of the port of entry, residents are already making plans for restaurants and shops, he said.

"When it closed nobody crossed and everything went downhill. People began to leave," he said. "Now people are going to return."

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  1. onewildmanComment by onewildman
    December 12, 2011 @ 9:22 am

    What kind of fools are running this country. This is just another treasonous act by a criminal government. Obama want’s to destroy this nation. When is the media going to wake up! They are just as responsible and have failed the American Public. Obama and everyone involved in this should be immediately arrested and charged with TREASON.
    IMPEACH OBAMA NOW! ! ! ! ! ! !

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  2. capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
    December 12, 2011 @ 9:23 am

    conservation is more important than the united states of americas security,sovereignty,
    our way of life,and our heritage??????
    w t h is wrong with our government?
    w t h is wrong with us for letting this happen?
    my faith and hope for the country to survive is on life many americans just dont understand whats happening to our nation.woe unto us.

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (21 votes cast)
  3. cinbadComment by cinbad
    December 12, 2011 @ 9:28 am

    “The Border of Dreams: build it and they will come” Starring in the lead role: Eric Holder with Janet Napolitano as supporting actress. Villians played by Charles Grassley and Darrell Issa with special appearances by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Setting is a small Texas border town fighting to keep the grocery business alive, a gut wrenching tale of poor Mexicans only wishing to buy beans and guns while being harrassed by evil haters whose sole purpose is security for rich and greedy Texas landowners.

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      December 12, 2011 @ 10:12 am

      You are really on a roll today with the funny stuff. Keep it up. You are making my Monday more bearable.

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      Rating: 4.0/5 (8 votes cast)
  4. downdraftComment by downdraft
    December 12, 2011 @ 10:12 am

    Lets ne not make the mistake again, of ever refering to LIARS and TREASONSISTS as “media”

    Media was once refered to as professional fact gatherers who wrote about what actually occured…a “verbal photo”…and we could trust their reports because they were professionals..

    Today media is simply filth with a pencil…filth because they are paid to lie to us and perform before the camera as though they were experts on the subject, and act as benevolent fact finders…

    Filth is filth and is synonymous with words like ”treasonist and propagandist”…

    Folks, lets hold these filth with a pencil accountable…including their employers.

    Also, today’s filth with a pencil are members of the Actors Guild in  Hollywood which requires actors, good and bad, to become card carrying union members as well as card carrying members of the Communist Party…

    Talk about “filth with a pencil”, or LIAR, how many listened to the pimple on the butt end of progress last night? Whle changing stations from the Packers game I ran across the filth show starring Obimbo and his enterage of filthy pencils…truly sad how one could lie before millions and even believe his own press releases…

    IMPEACH and block out the filth with a pencil actors…its supposed to be a family show…they’l also die if we do not purchase from those who sponsor them…they are liars too…

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (13 votes cast)
  5. TexannaComment by Texanna
    December 12, 2011 @ 10:17 am

    Let’s leave out the “Bien Venido” mat for the Zetas and the XIII.  That’s what we get for letting the feds get their grubby hands on some of Texas.

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      December 12, 2011 @ 10:26 am

      Right, because nobody would ever forge or use someone else’s legal documents to cross. This is a stupid idea. I just love the way people who have never lived in a border state think they should dictate to us how to best secure our border.

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    • newsjunkyComment by newsjunky
      December 12, 2011 @ 11:07 am


      Yes, it is a stupid idea, and you’re right, when push comes to shove let’s see how these people would react when they were being literally invaded with not only foreigners,  but trash, garbage, fecal matter, theft of livestock, and the decimation of property.  When it’s in your own backyard how else do they expect people to behave?

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    • downdraftComment by downdraft
      December 12, 2011 @ 11:47 am

      txgoatlady and newsjunky

      I truly believe that there are a terrible number of politicians who only see the illegal vote before their faces…not you, not me, not the border citizens in this country…but just “whats in it for me?”…

      Now let me ask a question…what would you do if your state governor opened the borders completely, no questions asked, no visas, no work permits, no policing….just “OPENED THE BPRDERS”?

      My guess he or she would be looking for another job…provided he or she was able to safely climb down from the lynching tree…

      Then whats the difference when OBAMA does the same thing?

      Where are the groups marching on Washington, the White House, the Oval Oval Office, the lynching tree?

      I admit that sounds real extreme, but you guys are faced with a real problem, your state’s governors are faced with the same problem and he and she need one helluva lot of local support…as well as from us out here because the illegals go inland to the havens, you guys are oftern just the conduit.

      And why should “whats in it for me” or “how many votes can I get or lose” be issues at all?

      The issue is” Good Lord, this is real serious, this is a real threat, this is an invasion (some say only a few get by the agents…if so then when did those millions we can’t find get here…and how?)”…yeah “only a few get by the agents”…a million times…well that is an invasion in anyone’s book!

      Mr. POTAP (pimple on the a.. of progress)…why the hell are we paying you?

      Border friends, during my visits to Texas, Arizona, California, your state etc…what impressed me was your firm belief in your state, your fellow citizens, your dedication to hard work, your generousity…and your “don’t mess with us” frame of mind…

      Do those atributes still exist? Have they been water downd over the years?

      I don’t think so…not when I read your posts…sooooo…how can we best help?

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  6. ringComment by ring
    December 12, 2011 @ 11:41 am

    Ok Campers,
    Before you blame the Obama administration for reopening this class “B”crossing you might want to learn a bit of history about this area. I also want to tell you that I am NOT an Obama administration fan nor of illegal aliens. The people pushing for years to open these crossings again are the locals like me in Brewster County and Presidio County, Texas who have been going back and forth to see our Mexican friends since we were kids. The other people wanting them open again are the regular tourist visitors, people who come here several times a year and really miss being able to go across the river for a few hours.
    Six months after 911 the class “B” crossings were closed. Locals asked why, if they were such a big risk, did they wait six months. The reality is and still is that if some Arab terrorist dude were to walk hundreds of miles to these VERY REMOTE CROSSINGS the first people the Mexicans would contact after spotting one would be authorities on this side! I might remind you that all the terrorists who took the planes on 911 were in this country legally on work or student visas. The government is looking in the WRONG PLACE for terrorists.
    Prior to the closings a number of hard working honest Mexicans used to help the Park Ranges and Border Patrol with information about the activities of the few bad guys in the region. They had a very strong rapport and that eroded with the closings and the many of the helpful Mexicans had to move away. Many of those good Mexican people had to move away because Americans were no longer allowed to cross, have a beer, a meal, take some photos, buy a few trinkets then come back to Texas. For many regular visitors to the Big Bend National Park and Lajitas this crossing was a regular activity and when that stopped businesses on both sides of the border were hurt. The Lajitas crossing was always extremely busy during the our annual Chili Cook Off the first weekend in November. I mean closing those class “B” crossings killed years of tradition, trade and friendship as far back as the Comanche Trail days.
    The other problem the closings created was that the Mexicans in these very remote villages could no longer walk across the river and buy food, gas, have propane bottles filled, use a telephone, get mail or visit grandparents or US citizen children living 200 yards across the Rio Grande.  At one time the post office at Redford, Texas had more Mexican nationals with PO boxes than Americans. The little store there had to close due to lack of Mexican business. No, no, no whining about Mexicans having PO boxes in the states; they paid for them just like us. On a personal note I had been using those crossings since 1963.
    I could tell you more about this situation but shall close with this information. The Marfa Border Patrol Sector is the safest sector on the US Mexican border between Brownsville, Texas and San Diego out in La La Land California. Yes, we do have a few drug things happen here but not many and very little, if any, violence. We have a strong Border Patrol presence and the Brewster County Sheriff’s Department patrols four extra hours per shift financed by the federal “Project Linebacker” among others looking for druggies and illegals. Statistically, you have a thousand times more chance of being mugged, robbed or shot on a mile walk in Washington, D.C, than hiking a mile along the Rio Grande in the Marfa sector.
    God bless America and our Mexican friends!
    Ring Huggins Study Butte-Terlingua Texas

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    • downdraftComment by downdraft
      December 12, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

      I see your reasoning…I also know first hand that 100 plus miles seemingly going to no where is duck soup for an illegal (Muslim, etc?) to walk, without a camel even. And if a Mexican or local Texan saw him he would report him is BS…how would anyone know he was illegal or a threat?

      And” “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,” said William Wellman, Big Bend National Park’s superintendent. “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.”

      America considered the Japanese “idiots” if they attempted to bomb Pearl HArbor”….and America’s most skilled national security people reasoned that terrorists would be “idiots” to attempt to ram airlines into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, …

      No, security has to be tighter, not slackened…sorry lil town in Texas…but we out here still love you..

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    • onewildmanComment by onewildman
      December 12, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

      ring, in case you didn’t know Islamic terrorist have already been caught after illegally crossing into Texas from Mexico. Just letting people come and go as they please is stupid.

      Perhaps the most notorious instance of a terror scare near the border was the Texas arrest of a South African Muslim woman at the McAllen airport in July 2004. She was discovered trying to board a flight with wet clothes, thousands in cash and a mutilated passport. The capture of Farida Goolam Ahmed briefly made international headlines that summer. As a media story, it vanished almost as quickly as it appeared.
      Top intelligence officials quickly killed the story with ardent denials that Ahmed had anything to do with terrorism. Reporters went away. Ahmed was charged with a simple illegal entry offense and quietly deported back to South Africa.
      But those official denials about Ahmed’s link to terrorists now turn out to have been false. There was much more to learn.
      Documents in her Houston court file remain sealed to this day, and Department of Justice officials still refuse to publicly discuss it, citing the secrecy rules that go with national security investigations.
      This writer, however, has learned the case of the South African Muslim woman set off a bona fide transcontinental terrorism investigation, one that may have rolled up an advanced-stage bombing plot and definitely put a stop to one smuggling avenue for Middle Easterners into the U.S.

      You can read more:
      IMPEACH OBAMA NOW! ! ! ! ! !

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  7. Tonto (USA)Comment by Tonto (USA)
    December 12, 2011 @ 11:45 am

    Of course he does!  Anything to make things messier in this country is just wonderful to our “foreigner in residence” in the White House.  Obama hates all things American and wants to destroy America.  America has been a shining example to the world of what the real people of the world WANT to be.  That example makes the “elite” of the world-wide oligarchists very uneasy…..because they can never be sure that the people wont rise up against them.  Well, they won’t have long to wait because it’s coming to a head right here in the USA…!

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  8. rawdibobComment by rawdibob
    December 12, 2011 @ 11:56 am

    If YOU have ever been to Big Bend NP, as I have, you would know that it is a LLOONNGG ways (89 miles) from nowhere.  (several days walk)

    One can wade across the Rio Grande about anywhere one chooses, except in the two canyons.  When we were there, I watched riders and horses wander back and forth across the river ($5000 fine for each unreported crossing).

    Yes, when leaving the BBNP we were stopped by the Border Patrol (no, we did not pick any hitchhikers (there were none).  This was about the winter of 2003 or 2004.  Be sure to carry your own water.

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      December 12, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

      We took a trip to Big Bend many years ago, well before 9/11. We crossed the border at one of the dinky towns (maybe Lajitas?) and didn’t see anything worth stopping the car for. I have a feeling a lot more people would be crossing over from Mexico to U.S. than the other direction. I also think that terrorists and drug dealers would much rather cross at a remote outpost regardless of the additional travel required.

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  9. downdraftComment by downdraft
    December 12, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

    Comment by txgoatlady

    Tex..your post points out the obvious choice of cartel, terrorists, etc …I don’t even know why we all here post comments as to whether or not the decision to “open” the border is ludicrous…I just shakemy head as I read the article about Obimbo’s plan…when Obimbo was born he was fully alive and healthy…just brain dead.

    When Ross Perot’s men snuck out of Iran, having been kept as prisoners, they chose REMOTE” borders wherever possible…that was during their revolution  and fighting thus more alert to travelers…DUHHHHHH…… 

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  10. snattlerakeComment by snattlerake
    December 12, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

    Yes sir, just scan your card and bring your narcotics or wmd’s right on in…

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  11. bigbenderComment by bigbender
    December 12, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

    Please folks, listen to those of us who live here.
    ring and rawdibob have it right. This crossing should have never been closed.
    This is our “back yard”. We want an open crossing at this point, and the new arrangement actually adds more security in the area (not that we really need it).

    Please do not oppose this border crossing point until after you been here and seen the situation for yourself.

    I am a Big Bend resident, property owner, and Republican voter.

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    • onewildmanComment by onewildman
      December 12, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

      bigbender, have to disagree there should be no unsecured crossing anywhere in the US. No if ans or buts about it. If you want this open again then demand a check point so everyone is verified safe to enter the US. In case you missed it:
      IMPEACH OBAMA NOW! ! ! ! !

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      December 13, 2011 @ 9:52 am

      Believe me, I sympathize with you. Unfortunately, the really bad guys will cross at these unmanned stations. Not only that, but then they will no longer be your problem. They aren’t going to stay in the border towns. They beat a hasty retreat north and the rest of us have to deal with the consequences.

      I agree with onewildman on this. Petition the government to put a manned station there if it needs to be reopened. I have no problem with the government spending my tax dollars on border enforcement. My issue is spending my tax dollars to support a bunch of freeloaders both citizen and non-citizen. I frankly think it would be a lot cheaper to stop them at the border. Our public school and health care systems are seriously overburdened by illegal aliens. Add the additional costs to bring the illegal alien criminals to trial and jail them when they commit crimes over here and you get costs that quickly spiral out of control.

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  12. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    December 12, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

    While this type of Class B might be applicable to our Canadian border, it is only because Canada has operative law enforcement, and is not a no-man’s land with a government out of control.

    Sure, have a document scanner, we may get hundreds of copies of Obama’s purported birth certificate.

    Take a tip from Israel, trained agents are an absolute necessity, with face to face questioning, and an army to back them up. They are now beginning a fence along the desert border of the Negev and Sinai.

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  13. Max daddyComment by Max daddy
    December 13, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

    Why didn’t they thnk of this sooner?
    Imagine all the lives and money we would have saved in the middle east by simply erecting kiosks along the Iran/Iraq and Paki/Afghani borders!

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  14. bigbenderComment by bigbender
    December 13, 2011 @ 11:43 pm

    See the video and transcript at:

    Criminals are NOT going to cross here.

    It very well may be a waste of money, but it is not a security problem.
    This crossing needs to be open.

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    • onewildmanComment by onewildman
      December 14, 2011 @ 9:08 am

      Bigbender terrorist come all the way from the Middle East to get here. Do you really think traveling an extra 100 miles to cross the border where no one will stop them. I also want you to know i know someone who was a Sheriff at one of those “B” crossings and there was drug trafficking going on. She made a vow to stop drug traffickers the next day her German Shepperd was found dead at her doorstep. It was a friendly message from the drug traffickers.
       Criminals take the safest way when breaking the law. They don’t want to get caught. If you give them a free entry then they will use it. You are just being naive about the crossing. On top of that it is the law when crossing to the US to show your pass port. 
       The problem with your link is the fact that the story assume everyone to be honest that would cross there. Criminals are not honest and terrorist do not care about being honest. So your article is nothing but a liberal opinion with no proof to it back up.
      IMPEACH OBAMA NOW! ! ! ! !

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