Boquillas crossing progressing
By MARK GLOVER
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK – Construction of the Boquillas Port of Entry visitors pavilion on the U.S side in Big Bend National Park has been completed, and the complimenting infrastructure in Mexico is still in the works.
“Progress is good on all fronts,” said Bill Brooks, public information director for the Border Patrol Big Bend Sector. “We’ve had excellent cooperation from Mexico.”
Although no Customs agents will be directly involved in passenger transits across the border, security cameras, remote passport processing and Big Bend National Park rangers will be active at the crossing.
“It will be staffed by the park service,” said David Elkowitz, park public information officer.
Getting across the Rio Grande is another step in the re-opening.
“The park service is in charge of hiring a boat man,” said Brooks. “There won’t be a bridge.”
Traditionally, boats with Mexican operators provided the service for a small fee.
The informal Boquillas crossing was closed shortly after 9/11 as were many Class “B” Texas-Mexico border crossings, including those at La Linda, Lajitas, Redford, Ruidosa, and Candelaria. The Boquillas crossing will be the only official border crossing station between Presidio and Del Rio, a span of about 350 miles.
Republican Texas U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has voiced opposition to the border crossing, and Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn, who initially opposed the reopening of Boquillas, apparently changed his mind after touring the area last week, according to a recent post on his Facebook account.
The port facility, approved by Congress in October 2011, cost taxpayers $3.7 million.
The kiosk style, remote processing border entry point is also in use at certain US/Canadian points, including some Great Lakes ports and at the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.