Border patrol agents in Hidalgo, Texas, found something that would make short work of the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico, Central Texas News Now reports. It's a tunnel.
The 60-foot tunnel, which is all but invisible from the U.S. side of the border, lies hidden at the bottom of a deep embankment, far from the sight of American law enforcement. Border patrol agents reportedly shared photos of the tunnel with President Trump during his recent visit to the border area. Trump, who has made construction of a robust border wall central to both his election campaign and now his presidential agenda, has remained steadfast in his assessment that a physical barrier along the southern border remains the best solution to illegal border crossings.
Upon finding the tunnel, Border Patrol reached out to Orthal Brand Jr. for help in closing or filling in the passageway. Brand is president of the Hidalgo County Water Improvement District 3, and the tunnel is located about 1,500 feet from a pump station that Brand oversees on U.S. Parks and Wildlife property.
Because of where the tunnel entrance is situated, it can only be seen from a vantage point out on the water of the Rio Grande.
"You've seen them on the news in Arizona and New Mexico and stuff like that but I've never seen one in the Valley," Brand said. "That's the first one I've seen that's in our back yard."
He is now working with border patrol agents, along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, to solve the challenging problem of negotiating the steep terrain protecting the tunnel. An approximately 30-foot drop makes it all but impossible to access the opening on the U.S. side.
"It's hard for me to put a piece of equipment on an edge of a 30-foot sand cliff and reach down and try to collapse something without putting my own piece of equipment and my own operator at risk," Brand said.The president continues to make the case for his proposed border wall, even as the issue threatens to bring the government to its second shutdown so far this year. Congress is currently operating under a three-week window of time in which to negotiate a budget that Trump has insisted include funding to begin construction of the wall.
He describes the state of the southern border as a threat to U.S. national security, claiming that criminals, terrorists, and drug smugglers are crossing over in droves due to lack of a physical barrier.
"They do it because there's no barrier, there's no hardened wall that you can't knock down with your breath," he said in an interview with the New York Times.