Regional
4:53 pm
Thu August 19, 2010

"Border Bridges" Draw Outrage

Acala, Texas – Two metal footbridges are on each side of a towering West Texas stretch of the $2.4 billion border fence designed to block people from illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico.

The Associated Press today reports 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.

Sally Spener with the International Boundary and Water Commission says -- technically speaking -- it's not a bridge, it's a "grade control structure."

The structures under the spans help prevent the river and therefore the international border from shifting.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry -- Katherine Cesinger -- says it's "outrageous" and yet another example of the federal government failing to secure the border.

Hudspeth County Sheriff's Lt. Robert Wilson says the bridges may have made sense decades ago when they were built, but times have changed amid the Mexican drug smuggling war.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.