There are rumblings that the international Boquillas Crossing on the Texas-Mexico border in Big Bend National Park will be re-opening soon. The small port of entry is estimated to see around 20,000 visitors a year. But U.S. Border Patrol agents monitoring the site will be more than 100 miles away.
Boquillas was one of a handful of small border crossings deemed unsafe and closed after Sept. 11, 2001. But a shared interest in the wild lands on both sides of the Rio Grande helped revive the port of entry. Its the only official border crossing station across a span of about 350 miles.
The Boquillas Crossing will be staffed by park rangers, and received an upgrade in the last few years, costing $3.7 million. Potential crossers will need to have identity documents to scan and will be required to talk with Border Patrol agents by camera. This kiosk approach is used on the U.S.-Canadian border.
Still, some opponents continue to protest this model for the Southwest. In December, when the border entry was proposed, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican member of the House Homeland Security Committee told the Associated Press:
"We need to use our resources to secure the border rather than making it easier to enter in locations where we already have problems with illegal crossings," McCaul said in an email. "There is more to the oversight of legal entry than checking documents. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) needs to be physically present at every point of entry in order to inspect for contraband, detect suspicious behavior and, if necessary, act on what they encounter."