El Paso

Debate over border wall continues ABC-7 speaks with former Border Patrol Chief agent

Debate over border wall continues ABC7 speaks with former Border Patrol Chief agent

The debate continues.

Talk of building a border wall has been going on since President Donald Trump began running for president in 2015.

 A little more than two years later, the discussion continues.

Washington officials are using El Paso as an example for why a wall is needed.

The most recent debate came after an article was published in the New York Post last week that says the fence built under the Bush administration curtailed both illegal border crossings and crime in Texas.

After reading the article, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted:

"Ask El Paso, Texas (now one of America's safest cities) across the border from Juarez, Mexico (one of the world's most dangerous) if a wall works."

Sanders also shared a link to the article.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, an El Paso native who is running for U.S. Senate, quickly rebutted Huckabee with a tweet:

"Walls have nothing to do with it. We've been ranked 1st 2nd or 3rd safest city for the last twenty years including before any wall. In addition to a great law enforcement, our safety is connected to the fact that we are a city of immigrants. We treat each other with respect and dignity."

"I think as a country we struggle when it comes to border security metrics," said Victor Manjarrez, Associate Director for Human Law and Behavior at UTEP.

He's also had a 23-year career in the Border Patrol, including Chief Patrol Agent in Tuscon, Arizona.

Manjarrez sees a few issues with the debate. The first is the need for education on border complexities.

"You'll have senators and congressman making these decisions and quite frankly they spend three or four hours on the border and then they go back," Manjarrez said.

In 2008 Manjarrez overlooked the border wall put up in El Paso.

He said the number of illegal crossings were drastically reduced.

"Here in El Paso, the activity levels were so low we made the conscious decision to send to help to the Tucson sector," Manjarrez said.

Manjarrez supports a wall in areas where it's needed but adds a wall alone will not make America safe.

"It has to be a combination of personnel, border infrastructure like roads, fencing and technology. What I expect is going to happen is a transition. We think of border wall with metal but some of it is going to be a surveillance wall," Manjarrez said.

 Manjarrez said there's already radar technology that can see far beyond cameras and this could be the future of border security.



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