On Saturday, June 1st , on my way to the radio show I occasionally host, I began to receive some very strange phone calls. I was being told that, along Border Highway, near Riverside High School, there were two ladders over the border fencing.
At first, I dismissed it. How could a ladder, much less two of them, be attached to the fence without Border Patrol being aware?
After receiving a few other calls that afternoon, I had to go out and see for myself. So, on my way home, I drove very slowly along Border Highway.
Even then, I almost missed it. I had to walk almost half-a-mile back to get where the ladders were.
Right there, in broad daylight, were two ladders – one appeared to be a rope ladder, and the other reminded me of an old collapsible metal ladder that one might have either in the Navy or at home to escape a second story fire.
How did these ladders get there? What happened to the people that put them there? I was curious. Beyond that, the appearance of the ladders gave me an opportunity to talk with Border Patrol officials about something else that I had noticed.
For the past week, I’ve noticed that there haven’t been any Border Patrol agents along the fencing on Border Highway. I live in the Lower Valley and several times a day I drive Border Highway.
Not more than a week ago you would see marked SUV’s all along the fence. On the opposite side, in the westbound lanes, you would have marked El Paso Police Department units watching the border – as part of a funding grant from the Department of Homeland Security.
They were not there. I wanted to know why.
I reached out to Agent Baca, who is one of the Public Information Officers for the Border Patrol here in El Paso, about the ladders I saw and the lack of agents on the border.
As for the ladder incident, Agent Baca indicated that even though they were on both sides of the fence, they may not have been utilized by anyone.
Several scenarios were possible according to him: people could have put the ladders in place, and then been scared off by the amount of traffic; they could have been used, and the individuals were taken into custody. (EDITOR’s NOTE: As of publication, Monday June 3rd, there have been no releases regarding the ladders, or anyone being taken into custody)
The ladders were removed by agents shortly after our conversation; however, even with his explanation, I still had a lot of questions about this whole situation. I went back and did more independent research.
As I said, I live in the Lower Valley. I drive that stretch of highway daily. I know that there are times when there is little to no traffic on that part of Border Highway.
During the wee hours of June 2nd, I sat on the side of the road, where the ladders were the day before, and it was forty-nine minutes before the first car passed me – from just after two a.m. to almost three a.m. only two cars passed me. Two.
As for the lack of Border Patrol agents on the border, as they have been placed since the early 90’s as part of Silvestre Reyes’ ‘Operation Hold the Line;’ according to Agent Baca, the agents that would normally be along that stretch of Border Highway – as well as Paisano Drive – have been transferred to “assist with processing and caring for the large numbers of migrants crossing into the El Paso sector daily.”
Again, a good explanation, but one that seems contrary to all the information that the press and the public has been given. We’ve already seen one video of 1,200 people crossing the border and coming through what is normally a locked passageway in the border fencing.
From Memorial Day (May 27) thru June 2nd, I made it a point to check for agents and their vehicles at various times along that stretch of road – from Downtown to Ysleta. While there were a couple of vehicle near or at the ports of entry, the majority of the border in between yielded the same result – no agents, no vehicles.
Every single day, Border Patrol agents are apprehending individuals coming into the United States. From the Customs and Border Protection’s information office, we are getting releases enumerating the flow, with pictures of large groups in custody.
Considering the stance of this country regarding this border crisis, aside from the unblinking eyes of the cameras, a large swath of our border was apparently left physically unwatched, leading to the video of the 1000+ migrants flooding ‘unchecked’ into the US, through a normally locked gate.
The entire situation leads to difficult questions.
If agents were stationed along the fencing, as has been the case for years, then would they have come over? Would those rope ladders have been put in place, and possibly used?
Amidst this ‘unprecedented flow,’ why is the fencing left unguarded? Why was this gate left open?
If the cameras are going to be stand-ins for agents, and the migrants are captured none-the-less, why have the agents spread every 1/4 along the fence/wall?
As we move forward in the next few days and weeks, we’ll be looking into these issues and working to bring answers to these questions to you. Send me your tips, questions and anything else – email@example.com