FALFURRIAS, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection is eying a massive expansion of its traffic checkpoint just south of Falfurrias.
The existing checkpoint would be completely demolished and replaced with a new one. There would be eight traffic lanes for primary inspection plus eight lanes for secondary inspection. There would also be temporary detention facilities.
One of the reasons for the expansion, a draft environmental assessment states, is that “current increasing trends in illegal border activity require additional USBP (Border Patrol) agents and other resources to enhance the operational capabilities of USBP.”
The draft environmental assessment states: “The existing traffic checkpoint, constructed in 1994, is incapable of handling the increase in traffic flow along U.S. 281. It also states that “the existing traffic checkpoint does not provide adequate space and facilities for the current level of personnel operating at the facility.”
The general public has until May 24 to comment on the draft proposal. The public can comment through these methods:
• By U.S. mail: USBP Falfurrias Checkpoint EA. Attention Mr. John Petrilla, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol Facilities and Tactical Infrastructure, 24000 Avila Road, Suite 5020, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
• By email: [email protected]; or
• By fax: (949) 360-2985
The draft environmental assessment states:
<i>The purpose of the Proposed Action is to expand the existing, undersized TCP (traffic checkpoint) with adequate facilities that allow personnel to operate in a safe and efficient manner. This will allow USBP (Border Patrol) to fulfill its primary mission of preventing terrorists and their weapons from entering the United States and preventing the illicit trafficking of people and contraband between the official ports of entry. Current increasing trends in illegal border activity require additional USBP agents and other resources to enhance the operational capabilities of USBP. In addition, the existing TCP does not provide adequate space and facilities for the current level of personnel operating at the facility. Therefore, the need for the Proposed Action is to provide the following:
• adequate space and facilities (e.g., administrative, secondary vehicle inspection operations, and temporary detention facilities) for the agents and staff currently operating the TCP an increase in the width of approach lanes to allow sufficient space to safely conduct primary inspections and to allow for the free flow of public traffic during times when the TCP is closed
• adequate number of primary inspection lanes to handle increases in vehicular traffic, avoid congestion, and enhance agent and public safety
• adequate lighting to enhance security and detection capabilities
• a means to operate the TCP during extremely hot or other inclement conditions
• a more safe, effective, and efficient working environment.</I>
Click <a href=”http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Falfurrias%20Traffic%20Check%20Point%20Draft%20EA-FONSI.pdf”>here</a> to read the draft environmental assessment.
<I>The Guardian would like to thank Scott Nicol, of the Borderlands Sierra Club, for alerting us to this project.</I>