One month after a raucous meeting in which residents were told to arm themselves against the drug cartels, law enforcement in Fort Hancock gave the idea of a public forum another go.
As a group of boys played basketball outside Benito Martinez Elementary, residents were de-briefed on the progress made by Border Patrol agents.
Newly-appointed Constable Jose Sierra said he hopes this meeting — put together by the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s office and the Border Patrol — will put local minds at ease.
“We’re in the middle of nowhere,” he told ABC-7. “(The residents) only know what they read in the paper and see on the television.”
The Border Patrol said number of illegal immigrant arrest was cut to 748 in 2009. The figure used to hover around 1,800.
The number of agents on the ground has also swelled from 50 to 150.
Most of the questions from audience came in Spanish and had to do mostly with the immigration process itself.
Sierra said the cartels have many in Fort Hancock worried for family on the other side of the border fence.
“It’s uncertain as to what’s going to happen,” said Sierra.
Fort Hancock High School student Israel Morales, 17, told ABC-7 he sees the affects of what’s happening in Mexico on the faces of his classmates and even on their bodies.
“I see friends with a tattoo of the date of birth of their parents on one wrist and the date of the death on their other,” he said. “It’s weird.”
Fort Hancock School Superintendent Jose Franco said all of his teachers have been equipped with cards explaining the procedures for various border-related emergencies.
Franco said those procedures will be put to the test on Friday with drills at all the schools.