When I first saw the headline on yesterday's Border Patrol press release "Discovered Tunnel Destroyed in Rio Grande Valley", I was ready to be really impressed (and depressed) by the thought that one of the cartels had dug a huge tunnel under that river.
The release's description that the tunnel, in Hidalgo, Texas, had been "created in an attempt to bypass technology and infrastructure" did not tell me anything about its specific location. (Hidalgo is a crossing point just south of McAllen, Texas.)
The further information that "a criminal organization constructed the man-made tunnel in an attempt to avoid detection while importing people or narcotics," did not help much either.
All of the border tunnels found to date, except this one, are under the land border stretching from El Paso and the Pacific, and are dug under the desert or in built-up areas, such as Nogales, Ariz. Some even have little railway cars, tracks for the cars, and forced-air ventilation systems. But from El Paso toward the east the border is marked by the Rio Grande, and I had never heard of a tunnel dug under the river — was his the exception that proved the rule?
Given the lack of clarity in the press release, I started calling Border Patrol offices and, on about the fourth call, found a real human being, in Hidalgo, who explained the tunnel, now filled with cement, had started on our side of the river and appeared to be headed toward the interior of our country. The idea was that once an illegal alien or drug carrier crossed the river, he or she could then take the tunnel to avoid riverside inspection operations.
In other words, it was a relatively modest criminal investment that was, appropriately, thwarted by our people.
And another indication that the BP press office needs an editor.