KCBD Investigates: Border Wars, Part 2 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

KCBD Investigates: Border Wars, Part 2

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The path into the United States is not an easy one. Each year, countless illegal immigrants trek through mountains, valleys and deserts to gain access into this country.

This presents a unique challenge for the United States Border Patrol.

Border checkpoints are key for agents monitoring what comes into the country. KCBD watched as each person and vehicle was examined at the checkpoint in Marfa, Texas.

"It's very important to stay away from complacency. At any time, any day we could have smuggling activity coming through here at our checkpoint or out in the field," Agent Ryan Cane said.

Smuggling not just narcotics, but also immigrants, who often hide in vehicles hoping to coast into the United States.

"Some of the compartments that I would never think to look into, our K-9s tell us you need to look a little longer," Agent Stephen Crump said.

As risky as hunkering down in a tiny vehicle compartment may sound, it's nothing compared to walking miles on foot through the desolation of Big Bend.

"I do have that compassion because I know the struggles and I know where they are coming from," Agent Martin Valenzuela said.

Valenzuela understands why these individuals risk everything to cross the border.

"That's the ultimate dream - to provide a better life for your children. But we can't differentiate whether that's the reason they're coming or they have some ulterior motive," Valenzuela said.

Estimates say from 10 to 20 million undocumented immigrants are living in the United States at this time. Some have crossed the border on foot, while others have simply overstayed their welcome.

"We could put a Star Trek type force field around our country, so if you threw a rock, it would bounce off and we would still have illegal immigration. And the reason is, people are able to enter through temporary visas and they overstay," Immigration Attorney David Strange says.

Strange believes these agents are doing the best job they can with the resources they're given.

"They can only do so much. There's only so many of them compared to the vastness of the border, and the numbers of people who are attempting to enter," Strange says.

But while the debate over border security is sure to rage on, agents assure us that our border is safe.

"Yes, our border is secure and it's getting more secure everyday," Agent Rush Carter says.

KCBD also questioned if changing administrations and legislation had affected their agency in any way.

The agents said their job is to enforce the law, not to have an opinion on it.

RELATED STORY: KCBD Investigates: Border Wars, Part 1

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