Border Catholic school reveals security measures with immigration crisis
Juan Diego Academy is a small Catholic high school located on the border near Mission's Anzalduas Park.
The area is largely regarded as a gateway for illegal entry into the United States.
Smugglers use jet skis to ferry human cargo a short distance across the river.
Border Patrol and the constable keep watch.
So does Bob Schmidt, principal at the academy.
"It seems like this right here is an important aspect to keeping the property secure? Action 4 TMs Ryan Wolf asked.
Right, Bob responded. Because it's the only entrance that you can get in on the campus."
The entire property is fenced in.
Mounted cameras provide 24 hour surveillance.
There's a security guard who walks the grounds.
Bob says they've had zero incidents since opening.
He is well aware though of the national headlines unfolding right in the school's backyard.
"It TMs very unfortunate to see what TMs happening," Bob said.
Roland Cardoza is an incoming 9th grader.
His father Rene drives him to the academy from Edinburg.
"I don't see anything out of the ordinary for this school, he said. It's very secure.
All around the campus unaccompanied minors cross the river from countries other than Mexico.
They present a problem for authorities because they can't be immediately sent back or left alone to fend for themselves.
Many wind up in crowded Border Patrol stations for days on end until they're processed.
Bob sees the humanitarian crisis as an opportunity to teach students by collecting donations for the children in need.
"As a Catholic school, it's something very near and dear to us because it's about the dignity of human beings -- especially about youth -- and that's what we're in the business to do at our school," Bob said.
But not all children who cross could be here for the right reasons.
Texas legislators worry some are corrupted by Mexican gangs who control most smuggling routes.
The fear isn't shared by this school parent.
"I'm not here to judge them, Rene said. They've got their own reasons. Hopefully it's for the best for them and everybody."
The school may be on the frontlines but the focus remains the same-- to learn.