Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ranchers frustrated over border security issues

US Senator Tom Udall's staff hosted the quarterly meeting of the Southwest New Mexico Border Security Task Force Wednesday at the historic Train Depot in Deming. Approximately 37 people were in attendance, including guest speaker Matt Bouillon, assistant New Mexico Attorney General of the Border Violence Division. Also in attendance were member of the United States Border Patrol's Santa Teresa Station, Lordsburg Station and the Deming Station. Local law enforcement agencies also gave updates and the US Congressional delegation presented its update. On the Congressional side, it was learned that Sen. Udall is continuing work to secure funding for the port center in Santa Teresa. According to the USBP Santa Teresa contingent, the rail yard is an impressive site along the border community to the southeast of Deming. The rail yard is roughly a mile long and will create nearly 600 job opportunities to the area. Once the yard is in service, 600 to 800 cars will pass through daily. Ranchers south of Deming voiced their frustration over what they believe are USBP agents who may be damaging property fences and leaving gates open during investigations and tracking. In many cases ranchers are pointing to ATV tracks they believe were caused by the USBP. LeBlanc said is station is making sure the agents who patrol are held accountable for their actions and that they reports such incidents to the ranchers and farmers who own the property. He said that in some cases, agents are equipped with repair kits, but they still need to alert the property owners of any damage or repairs that are made. One rancher stated: "I can't stress enough how some agents won't even bother to look for a gate when taking down a fence." Hector Maese of the USBP Lordsburg Station said apprehensions and traffic have been down since the recapture of Mexican drug cartel leader "Chapo" Guzman. He indicated the pace could have had something to do with the shift in cartel power. The USDA also has ordered the closing of the Stockyard near Columbus while anticipating possible violence over the capture of Guzman. The stockyard was reopened on March 7...more

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