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Institute for Truth Studies

John ellis water

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AFP Reporter Inspects Progress of Border Fence


By Mark Anderson

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R-Calif.), who succeeded his dad, retired Rep. Duncan L. Hunter, has introduced legislation to extend the border “wall” another 350 miles—in addition to the nearly 700 miles of the reinforced fencing that already has been built along the U.S.-Mexican border. The younger Hunter, who served in the Marine Corps just after 9-11 and became the first Marine combat veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan elected to Congress, will try to defend America’s borders instead of pretending that national security lies only in protecting other nations.



In response to advice of the AFP READERSHIP COUNCIL to report more on border issues, AFP is notching up efforts to follow the border fence’s progress. Rep. Hunter introduced the Unlawful Border Entry Prevention Act on July 22. The bill would give Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who’s the former governor of Arizona, discretionary authority to construct 350 miles of additional border fencing in locations she determines necessary.

It would amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. This AFP writer returned to see the border fence in south Texas on July 26, where it runs along Military Highway in Hidalgo County. This concrete-based structure has vertical metal posts shooting out the top; it’s about 14 feet tall.


Earlier, AFP spent a day with the South Texas Minuteman Project, which scouts the border and reports to the U.S. Border Patrol on illegal entries from Mexico. At that time, AFP filmed a literal wall section near the city of Mission that was all concrete. It looked something like the Berlin Wall. But the design in most areas is the concrete/metal post combination usually called a border “fence.” Many of the metal posts look rusty. There are large gates in the fence, relatively few and far between, where it can be opened wide enough through which to drive large vehicles. The vertical metal sections in the gated areas are taller than in the regular parts of the fence where there are no gates.

Near the University of Texas at Brownsville, the site of the former Fort Brown—that was used to monitor border mischief from Francisco “Pancho” Villa and other 19th century militants who menaced U.S. border towns 100 years ago—is now on the Mexican side of the border fence. The land of the former fort is now a park.

The irony is unmistakable: The land used for the original Fort Texas in the 1840s, later re-named Fort Brown after Major Jacob Brown’s death and utilized to protect the U.S. border, now appears to be physically separated from the U.S., even while the America of today continues to face border violence as it did a century ago.

The fort played a role in the opening of the Mexican-American War. Soon thereafter, in 1849, the city of Brownsville was established near the fort’s grounds and named after Major Brown. Violence from the 1910 Mexican Revolution raged along the Rio Grande River and sometimes spilled across the U.S. border, just like drug cartel violence does today.

“This required heavy U.S. Army deployments all along the river,” states an exhibit at the Historic Brownsville Museum. The army used the fort to defend America’s border with Mexico—before interventionism in other nations’ affairs became entrenched. Gen. John J. Pershing made an excursion into Mexico to hunt Pancho Villa after he had raided U.S. border towns, destroying Columbus, N.M. in March of 1916. Eighteen Americans were killed.

Rep. Hunter believes that the fence works but that the Department of Homeland Security, not the military, should be the main agency involved. He said:

“Under the existing border fence mandate, the [DHS] was given until December 2008 to identify specific locations on the Southwest border for . . . fence construction. There is currently no legal authority for DHS to build additional border infrastructure in the event that it is needed. The threat of violence, illegal drug smuggling and terrorist activity along the U.S.- Mexico border continues to escalate.”

Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as a corresponding editor for American Free Press. Together he and his wife Angie provide many photographs of the events they cover for AFP. Mark welcomes your comments and inputs as well as story leads. Email him at at [email protected].

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(Issue # 32, August 10, 2009)

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