March 24th, 2009
04:28 PM ET

Border plants to be killed to reveal smugglers

Editor’s note: Tune in to our special coverage on Wednesday as Anderson reports live from Mexico on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/03/12/border.security.cameras.immigration/art.border.fence.gi.jpg]
Houston Chronicle
Dane Schiller

The U.S. Border Patrol plans to poison the plant life along a 1.1-mile stretch of the Rio Grande riverbank as soon as Wednesday to get rid of the hiding places used by smugglers, robbers and illegal immigrants.

If successful, the $2.1 million pilot project could later be duplicated along as many as 130 miles of river in the patrol’s Laredo Sector, as well as other parts of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Although Border Patrol and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials say the chemical is safe for animals, detractors say the experiment is reminiscent of the Vietnam War-era Agent Orange chemical program and raises questions about long-term effects.


Filed under: 360º Follow • Border fence • Mexico
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. barbara

    Chemicals, don't we have a bigger problem here. The air, wildlife are at risk. Their must be a better way.

    March 24, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  2. xtina, chicago IL

    reponse to "JC in LA" – fantastic idea, build a fence to keep white collar criminals form entering Mexico! Mexico will pay for it lock, stock and barrel with all that drug money and all that money sent by wire transfer from illegal aliens NOT paying taxes in this country.

    March 24, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  3. Laredo Mom

    I'm definitely NOT for the chemical razing of plant-life. This has been a long-discussed topic in my hometown and one of deep environmental concern. Suggesting various alternatives has fallen on deaf ears. I pray this will not create a bigger and/or irreversible problem.

    March 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  4. Terry Sams

    If we're going to go this far, why don't we just adopt the Isreali and East German approach and permanently close the border above and below ground. I empathize with the majority population in Mexico, but we have to impress upon the Mexican government the need to get the gang violence under control.

    March 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  5. Jim

    Don't Poision- BURN!

    March 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  6. Christina Glendale, AZ

    I think were trying to cut the head off this drug beast @ it's belly. Illegal drug demand inside the US needs to be addressed and programs put in place to decrease the demand of these drug suppliers

    March 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  7. Midnight

    And how long before there's an "accidental" , or "unexpected" contamination?
    Mark my words....

    March 24, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  8. Sydney

    Why don't they just use night vision equipment?

    March 24, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  9. JC- Los Angeles

    I truly believe it's time for Mexico to erect a massive fence along the southern US border to prevent all the corrupt American white collar criminals from entering their country.

    March 24, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  10. Melissa

    Shakespeare said that the best way to start a play was with the supernatural or with blood being spilled. Methinks I smell the second choice on you. Better to spill the blood hmm?

    Nice of you to totally ignore what that article really says.

    It says that they are testing methods of killing the planet life.

    Only one of those methods is spraying poison from the air.

    One of the methods is hand cutting them and painting the stumps with herbicide (which is not unheard of in the US).

    The last method is to use a mechanical machine to pull the plants out by the roots thereby not needing any herbicide at all.

    I'm all for the third choice, how about you?

    March 24, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  11. Georgio Brown

    It is a rough option, but somethig has to be done to stop these drugs from getting into my neighborhood. Just yesterday another teen got killed only a block away in a drive by. It is something. We need to stop this crap.

    March 24, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  12. amy

    nasty !

    March 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  13. Cindy

    Why can't the U.S. just keep the bushes cut back or down and not use chemicals to kill them? That would seem a better option to me. That way you aren't killing off that plant and you aren't killing anything else with a chemical.


    March 24, 2009 at 4:35 pm |