‘Technically speaking it’s not a bridge’

This is one of the not a bridges near Acala, Texas

This is one of the not-a-bridges near Acala, Texas

Unguarded border bridges could be path to U.S.

ACALA, Texas — On each side of a towering West Texas stretch of the $2.4 billion border fence designed to block people from illegally entering the country, there are two metal footbridges, clear paths into the United States from Mexico.

The footpaths that could easily guide illegal immigrants and smugglers across the Rio Grande without getting wet seem to be there because of what amounts to federal linguistics. While just about anyone would call them bridges, the U.S.-Mexico group that owns them calls them something else.

“Technically speaking it’s not a bridge, it’s a grade control structure,” said Sally Spener, spokeswoman for the International Boundary and Water Commission, which maintains the integrity of the 1,200-mile river border between the U.S. and Mexico. The structures under the spans help prevent the river — and therefore the international border — from shifting.

They were built in the 1930s. If we aren’t going to actually do something to try and lock down the border, couldn’t we at least make them swim for it? What’s next, a slidewalk?

Though I’ll bet if the catwalk across the top of this was simply cut off and someone fell and drowned while trying to crawl across, there would be hell to pay.

I am constantly mystified by the lack of concern on the part of so many Americans about border security. If simple national security wasn’t enough of a reason, I guess I would have thought 9/11 would have convinced many that maybe it’s time to do more to establish a secure border. If 9/11 wasn’t enough, I would have thought the alarming level of violence just over the line into Mexico would do the trick. Is it going to take major drug cartel warfare in the steets of El Paso to convince enough people? Or won’t that even be enough?


  1. A grade control structure?? Thats the dumbest freaking thing I’ve heard all day. I hope we wake up about border security before something really bad happens.

  2. “I am constantly mystified by the lack of concern on the part of so many Americans about border security.”
    well…who else are we going to hire for well less than minimum wage?

    1. But most of us aren’t trying to hire sub-minimum wage workers. And I don’t think enough people actually think things through far enough to be at the point where they support illegal immigration because it means fruit is a little cheaper.

        1. So, if illegal immigration stopped my family and I would starve to death?

          Seriously: Are you claiming that the reason there is not more concern over this is due to low wage workers and low food prices? I can buy that as an argument, though I don’t know that I buy it as a reason that “John Q Public” isn’t more up in arms.

          People hiring cheap labor? Sure, they’ve got a reason to favor illegal immigration or at least not campaign for tighter border controls.

          But most people are not in a position to be directly affected, only indirectly effected. And no one (who doesn’t hire cheap illegal labor) that I’ve talked to has given cheap labor or cheap fruit as a reason that they personally aren’t more concerned. They just say those are reasons that big companies support illegal immigration.

          I understand why some people and organizations are very interested in keeping things the way that they are. What I continue to be mystified by is the apathy on the part of most of the rest of us.

          1. Farm workers receive only a fraction of what the farmers get, since labor costs are typically less than a third of farm production costs. As a result, farm worker wages are about six cents for a $1 head of lettuce or pound of apples.

            Even if you tripled wages for lettuce pickers, you are only looking at about a $0.12 increase in the price of a head of lettuce.

            This article at the Center for Immigration Studies has some interesting stuff on labor rates and the introduction of mechanized picking machines.

          2. no you would not starve to death. please don’t straw-man.

            But the point is, our consumer economy is affected by illegals working cheap. Irregardless if [i]you[/i] hire any we consumers are partly to blame. Fair-Trade™ products excepted (though they might be commie pinkos???).

            Another money related argument is that legal communities with sizable illegal immigrant populations depend on a minimum population size to support city/county tax base. Kick out the illegals and the money dries up, business go under, they lose more tax base, the local governments go bust, and then noone is much enforcing any laws. As such there isn’t much incentive for local immigration enforcement.

            Yet another explanation, is the illegal drug trade itself. It is facilitated by illegals being used as mules. It’s a crime which necessitates more police resources. Police unions like to have work to do; and such work helps to justify political influence at the appropriate venues.

            I am not paranoid, just cynical

          3. The only taxes illegals reliably pay are sales taxes. You would have to net the gains in sales tax revenue against the increased cost of providing government services to them, such as their emergency room visits and educating their kids with teachers who can speak their language. Given that most don’t own homes, I know a chunk did buy during the subprime crisis, they don’t pay property taxes which support the schools.

            I have a personal anecdote that involved an illegal who cleaned our building. The building’s owners subcontracted with a janitorial service who hired this illegal fellow from Mexico. His car had a 30-day temporary tag that people use in MO when they purchase a new vehicle. They are then supposed to register with the state by paying the sales tax and getting a real license plate. This also puts them on the books so that they get a property tax statement each year to pay the property tax on their vehicle. This tax is used to support the local school districts.

            But this guy kept getting new 30-day tags each month. I asked him about it and he told me in broken English that he had a friend who sold those temporary tags. End result is that he never paid property or sales tax on his car. After 9 months, I never saw him again. Maybe he went back to Mexico or to another state. My guess is this is repeated throughout the city I live in.

            As for spending money, this guy sent most of his money back to Mexico. He lived with several other illegals and shared expenses. So the bulk of his pay left the country.

        2. Sam-Hec, one line comment: So, you grow your own food?

          Sam-Hec’s next comment: please don’t straw-man.

          That’s some funny stuff.

          Anyway, as for your arguments, as I noted earlier I can buy them as arguments. What I do NOT buy, however, is that arguments such as those (and I’m not saying I neccessarily agree with them) are the reason why most people are basically apathetic to the issue of illegal immigration. For any of the things you mention, or anything similar to those things, to be the case, most people would have had to put enough thought into it to have formulated an opinion based on that sort of logic.

          As far as I can tell, most Americans have not put one-twentieth the thought into the issue that it would take for your types of arguments to be the reason that they have the position that they have. As far as I can tell, the reason that they have the position that they have is that THEY DON’T CARE ENOUGH TO HAVE A POSITION.

          That’s far, far different than being quietly in favor of illegal immigration due to all these economic and social reasons that you’re putting forward. I would not feel so frustrated if people cared enough to think about things seriously for more than ten minutes and then had a position that I disagreed with. I’m frustrated because most people (not in a position to directly hire cheap illegal labor, anyway) DON’T CARE.

          And I don’t understand how so many people can not care.

          But don’t play it up like everyone has thought everything through and has come to the conclusion that they are better off by quietly accepting things as they are.

          1. General apathy?

            For one the border is not where the terrorists are working their way through. Or if they are/were, it’s a secret.

            Second, America is supposed to be immigrant friendly.

            Thirdly, we still have a two ocean bias. ie we are not in the habit of worrying about borders.

            Fourth. XBOX! we get distracted easily.

      1. Are you sure? I just took another look at the picture and “You know what it looks like a bridge”. Maybe they meant it wasn’t a railroad bridge? Maybe that it… a railroad bridge

    1. can’t we just put a gate on our end of the bridge?

      But but but…that would make it harder for people to cross.

      I’m half surprised that there isn’t some air conditioned 100 mile conveyor belt running 24/7/365 bringing people in. And a government official telling us “Technically, that isn’t a conveyor belt…it’s a flow control structure.”

      Yes, obviously a gate would help. I’m not holding my breath.

      But if a few news stories and a little outrage on the part of some people shames someone into doing something, if only to shut the hotheads up, a gate would be better than what we’ve got now.

      1. Instead of a gate how about a turnstile. Then we could sell coin
        tokens all over Mexico,Central and South America as a test market.

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