Border security during monsoon storms

Updated: Jul. 21, 2017 at 5:57 PM MST
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NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The past couple of days, the border city of Nogales has been hit pretty hard with monsoon storms. Causing heavy rain, strong winds and flooding.

This adds another challenge to the U.S. Border Patrol, whose job is to secure the border. They told Tucson News Now, despite the bad weather, the agents are prepared to work.

One of the canyons along the border gets flooded pretty often during a monsoon storm, when the rain rushes down the hill side and towards the border fence.

At this section of the border, the fence has flood gates. They lift them up at the beginning of the monsoon in July and they go back down in late August. BP officials say, this allows the water to pass through and other debris. Without the gates, things would be backed up and it could lead to erosion.

When the gates are lifted, from a far, it looks like nothing is there. But actually there's barbed wire, to keep cattle from both sides from crossing the border. To someone trying to illegally cross the border, it looks like an open invitation.

Nogales Station Patrol Agent in Charge Sabri Dikman says, that's not the case. Just because they don't have agents right on the fence guarding it doesn't mean they are not watching.

He told us they have cameras monitoring the area, plus technology they couldn't talk about that alerts them. They also place agents on hillsides that can watch the fence, allowing the agents to pick up illegal border crossers pretty quickly.

Dikman says, Border Patrol also keeps an eye on the weather. If they know a big storm is coming through and flooding is expected, the agents are alerted before they go out on patrol.

They're reminded to bring items, that include a life vest, a rope and straps. They can use the straps to pull someone that is stranded out in a flooded area.

Many of the roads that the agents use are dirt roads. They can sometimes get flooded and debris can block them. They tell us, there are back up roads in
place to allow the agents to get to where they are needed.

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