Securing America's border

We see them all the time, driving down the expressway, when we cross the border, every time we drive through a check point. More than 2,400 Border Patrol agents work in the valley ensuring America TMs borders are secure.But how exactly do they do that?Over the past couple of months I TMve had the privilege of attending the Border Patrol Citizens Academy.I along with about 20 other students got to see firsthand how agents patrol the river, the brush, as well as the checkpoints, in effort to keep America safe.The Rio Grande isn TMt much wider than a football field is long, but passing by Border Patrol agents can be a huge challenge for those who dare to cross it.The Border Patrol is an agency under the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of the Department of Homeland Security.Their mission is to protect America TMs borders, and they start at the river TMs banks.Agents use 25 foot speed boats to patrol the waters of the Rio Grande.When the class went out things were quiet, but Agent Gutierrez says it could change quickly.It TMs quite so far but come sundown it will pick up, Gutierrez said.Agents are on watch 24/7 but so are the people they are watching for.We know that they are watching us as much as we are watching them, agent Rosalinda Huey said.Huey pointed out where traffickers watch from on the river TMs banks.They set up a platform where they can sit and watch us and they use camouflage netting to try to conceal themselves and our agents spotted it almost a year ago, Huey said.Agents also patrol the brush near the river on foot looking for anyone or anything that crosses the river.Aliens, drugs, foot signs, just like were walking up, you just track it, agent Steve Tinder said.Tinder says those who cross the border always leave something behind.You see the indentions and you see the more raised up it is the fresher it is, Tinder said.Huey says in 2012 the Rio Grande Valley sector had manageable increase of undocumented immigrants.Last year we apprehended close to 60,000 undocumented immigrants and seizing over a millionpounds of marijuana, Huey said.If undocumented immigrants or illegal drugs make it passed these guys, there are still more hurdles to jump.The Falfurrias checkpoint apprehends more undocumented immigrants and seizes more drugs than any other check point in the country.But they do have the help of man TMs best friend.And if the k-9 TMs give the signal, agent Jorge Munoz will take a look inside the vehicle.Basically what we do is drive around the vehicle real slowly and take an x-ray and it will bounce it back and give us an image, Munoz said.But Munoz is looking for what the untrained eye can TMt see.We don TMt look for people we look for anomalies, Munoz said.This time Munoz found narcotics in a truck full of produce.He doesn TMt find something in every search but it TMs all in an effort to keep you safe.Only 65 percent of those apprehended last year in the valley were Mexican nationals.Last year those apprehended in the RGV came from more than 65 different countries.