Fred Lucas, Daily Signal, May 29, 2019
Border Patrol officials and other advocates for a security wall along the southern border contend that although it wouldn’t stop illegal immigrants, it would slow them down and force them to cross the border in areas where they can be captured more easily.
Laredo, a city of 250,000, is a densely populated urban area along the southwest border that has no sections of wall to block entry by illegal immigrants who cross the Rio Grande River.
“We have no wall at all,” Joel Martinez, the Border Patrol deputy chief for the Laredo sector, told The Daily Signal during an interview at U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Laredo station.
“We have maybe one or 1.2 miles of aesthetic wall that surrounds the [college] here, which is right on the river banks. But it’s exactly that; it’s just aesthetics,” Martinez added.
“It’s not a security wall at all, in no form or fashion. But no, we have no infrastructure here at all, whatsoever, unlike the rest of the border.”
The college erected the barrier around the school in 2007, according to the Border Patrol.
Laredo College’s security fence was a collaboration between the city government, the school, and the Border Patrol.
The office of Rep. Henry Cuellar, R-Texas, refers to the structure as 1 mile of fencing in a fact sheet about border barriers in Texas. The project began in 2005 under the college’s president at the time, Ramón Dovalina, according to news reports.
Laredo College’s media relations office, reached Wednesday by phone and email, did not provide an immediate comment for this report. Sandy Lugo, a public relations specialist, said the appropriate spokespersons were out of town.
The school’s 200-acre main campus is near the bank of the Rio Grande, a high traffic area for illegal border crossings.
The Border Patrol has captured 24,000 illegal immigrants in Laredo since October 2018, the beginning of the federal fiscal year. The daily catch varies between 120 and 150.
Laredo College, established in 1947, initially was known as Laredo Junior College. It became Laredo Community College in 1993, before adopting the current name in 2018.