Originally published Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 09:02p.m.


Regarding “Take a Ride President Trump” by Craig Brown. Like Mr. Brown, I have visited Mexico, often weekly, and enjoyed friendly, industrious people doing their jobs in their own country.

Unlike Brown, I worked the border for 25 years as a border patrol agent. Away from the border cities, particularly at night, large groups (many are family groups and not from Mexico) are guided by ruthless smugglers through dangerous areas, endangered and exploited. Many have been held hostage until their fees have been paid by friends or relatives. Vehicles loaded with who knows what (over 2,200 in one year alone in one small section of the border) cross the line and dodge pursuing agents by endangering the public with acts such as driving the wrong way on freeways. Drug smugglers cross with contraband, (including fentanyl and meth) often shadowed by smuggled alien groups to occupy agents and allow them to escape interdiction. Criminals cross nightly to exploit border residents, and many convicted of horrible crimes repeatedly return after being deported.

The modest barriers installed in a few areas, decades ago by military units (and not by professional builders) are helpful, but are insufficient, outdated and in disrepair. And the enhanced ranks of agents from recent years have been pared by attrition. Maybe Brown should forgo a vacation day to a resort town and visit the real border to enlighten himself about the true situation.

Mark Haynes