Tornillo resident asks for border fence gap to be finished


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    Out in the country roads of El Paso County, drivers may eventually stumble on the town of Tornillo, Texas.

    The town, for the most part, sits alongside a border fence. But as you get to the outskirts, the fence suddenly stops.

    The gap in fencing stretches for more than 10 miles to Fort Hancock, Texas.

    "The other side of that is Mexico," George Brenzovich said.

    Brenzovich and his wife retired in Tornillo about 15 years ago. They live walking distance to the international border line with Mexico.

    "It looks like a 300-yard dash and I don't see anybody," Brenzovich said.

    The desolate area rarely sees any law enforcement activity, according to Brenzovich, as Border Patrol agents have a vast area to watch.

    That sometimes leaves locals such as Brenzovich to act and protect their property from illegal crossings.

    "Five o'clock in the morning, I had already gone to work, an intruder had already come through the fenced area," Brenzovich said.

    As a result of incidents like that and several others, Brenzovich says his family is always packing.

    "We are never outdoors without your gun on your hip, rifle in your car, and a shotgun with you and five dogs running," Brenzovich said.

    He agreed to give us a walking tour of the border.

    "So at night, they'll come running through these canals, see these canals over there? I bet if we go over there we'll find footprints," Brenzovich said.

    The fencing stretching through Tornillo was finished about 10 years ago as part of the Secure Fence Act. But it ends abruptly, leaving an opening in Brenzovich's front yard.

    "Our country needs to seal this," Brenzovich said.

    Brenzovich doesn't believe a wall is the perfect solution, but believes it will help.

    "It's going to work two ways, you have to be able to stop the flow, at least interrupt it," Brenzovich said. "It's a part, it has to be patrolled."

    We spoke with a handful of other people who live in the area, as well, though they chose not to go on camera. One property owner says they remember when there wasn't even a border fence. They tell us they have seen a significant decrease in illegal activity, including drug smuggling, through their private property.

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