Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry (TPOE) is also the largest POE in an unincorporated area along the US-Mexico Border.
All other POE’s are either in an incorporated town, or are much smaller than the TPOE.
As a result of the policy change by the Mexican government, about 2,500 vehicles are parked along the road in the area waiting to enter Mexico. The line has extended to over 2 miles of vehicles on both sides of the road and has encroached on residential areas.
Think I'm exaggerating? Well, lets go to the video!
I shot this yesterday morning and it literally took me almost 6 minutes to drive through all the traffic.
And the County of El Paso is virtually powerless to help the residents. Just how powerless are they? Well the County can not only not do anything about the traffic, but if someone were to go out there and decide they want to start trap shooting out there, there is nothing anyone can do to stop them because the County doesn’t have the power to restrict the use of firearms in unincorporated areas.
That sounds safe, doesn’t it?
They have State Representative Mary Gonzalez to thank for that because she quietly killed a bill in the last session that would have given more authority to the county along the corridor from the TPOE to I-10.
The bill was on the County of El Paso legislative priorities and Gonzalez was pressured by wealthy families in the area to kill the bill because it was in the financial best interest of those families to ensure the County maintains little to no authority in the area.
Had the bill passed, the County would have had the ability to develop policy remedies for the situation, but since Gonzalez killed the bill, the County can’t help the residents and farmers in the area. There's no way for Gonzalez to spin this situation otherwise either. That bill would've given the County the ability to help protect people and property.
As you can see in the video that I shot earlier this morning, it took me almost 6 minutes to drive through the area just to document the sheer volume of vehicles in the area. The vehicle is virtually impassable for large farm equipment that frequent the area making their way from field to field.
Since the Mexican government is only allowing 40-80 vehicles through per day, the bottle neck just keeps getting worse and worse. People stay with the vehicles so that they can be moved as the Mexican authorities allow vehicles to cross, but its a process that now appears to take days to complete. As a result, there are a lot of people just hanging out near their vehicles. Trash is already accumulating and it is a matter of time before trash and debris end up in the adjacent fields, causing a potential hazard to people and equipment.
Having that many vehicles just parked along the border is also a major security risk and a safety hazard for local residents who are essentially being held hostage by traffic in the area. This was also an issue previously in Santa Teresa, but that is in New Mexico and close to two municipalities. TPOE is further out from the metro area. Sources in the media have indicated that there have been fist-fights in the Santa Teresa area because of people trying to cut in line. Lets hope that, or worse, doesn’t happen at the TPOE.
The POE and traffic problem is actually in the part of Fabens known locally as La Isla. There have been efforts by the local residents in Fabens at beautifying and improving the unincorporated community and their efforts will likely be undercut by this situation in La Isla.
This was a situation that was 100% avoidable but thanks to Rep Mary Gonzalez caving to special interest, the problem is going to get worse before it gets better.
And what is even more annoying is that I have documented previously how whenever there seems to be a problem in her district State Rep Mary Gonzalez is either no where to be found, or out partying somewhere.
So where was Mary Gonzalez when her district was facing a problem (because she quietly killed the bill that could've helped prevent the situation)?
At the L & J. Seriously someone really needs to pull her aside and explain to her the optics of her being out partying while her district is facing major problems.
These are the real world implications of policy choices that are made because of political pressure at the expense of the people. Politics should never come before people.
On the bright side her office has adopted a portion of the highway in Horizon City for periodic clean-up. Maybe they could do the people of Fabens and Tornillo a solid and adopt roads in La Isla.
Rep Gonzalez’s office can be reached at (915)790-2299 or (512)463-0613.