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Editorial: Border Base: Go Closer

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Sometimes the best offense is a good defense.

When you live near the U.S.-Mexico border, a strong presence can be that defense.

In New Mexico’s bootheel, gun and drug running and illegal immigrant crossings are an everyday worry. The rugged bootheel is a flashback to the Old West frontier days. Few people live there, and those who do keep rifles and shotguns handy.

The Border Patrol is considering where to put a new outpost. Some residents say closer to the border is better. One possible site is seven miles from the line that would be visible from Mexico. Those residents say that location is superior to another site, 20 miles from the border.

The outpost will be a staging ground, where agents can stay for periods of time and be on site to track border crossers and pursue drug mules. It will have housing, a helipad, horse corral and communications equipment. Forward operating bases are being used more and more along the border, particularly in southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico. The Animas Valley outpost will be the third established in southwest New Mexico by the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector in the past two years.

Officials say the outposts, increased staffing, fences, vehicle barriers and the economy have reduced illegal crossings and reduced crime.

The seven-mile location will send a visible message to those with illegal intentions: Stay home.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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