Dispute heats up over access to border monument


Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico meet at Monument One

SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico (KTSM) — When closed, a gate from the privately funded border wall in Sunland Park, blocks access to historical marker Monument One.

Monument One is a point where Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico meet. However, the gate is closed at night and on weekends, limiting access to the public. That has prompted some people to seek other ways of seeing the monument, including entering through private property, which owners upset.

Boundary Monument 1, a historic U.S.-Mexico border marker, seen from Sunland Park, N.M., Wednesday, April 24, 2019. This unfenced area of the border west of the Rio Grande was shown in videos shot by the United Constitutional Patriots, a citizen immigration patrol that says it cooperates with the U.S. Border Patrol. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)

The owner of Eagle Brick Company, who owns the land where the wall is built, told KTSM 9 News that he has had problems with people driving on his private property.

“They want to walk up the wall and I tell them if you want to be on that side there’s a place they can get to and go there during the day that’s fine but this is still private property and I don’t care who you are, you need to respect that,” said Jeff Allen with Eagle Brick Company.

However, one woman says Allen hasn’t allowed her to see the monument from the private property due to her political beliefs.

“He said I couldn’t have access unless I told him who I voted for,” said Cindy Medina an El Paso Historian. “That’s not a great way to maintain our history if people are blocking you due to your political stance.”

Medina worries that people don’t know they are still allowed to see the monument and that the gate to access Monument One is open weekdays. The access road to the gate that leads to Monument One is open to the public.

“You can drive all the way up here toward the watergate, near the river gate, and you can get to this point and not be scared,” Medina said.

We Build the Wall, which funded the border wall came to an agreement with the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) to keep the gate open on weekdays.

But property owners feel the gate should always be closed due to safety concerns.

“It might make them happy if they live way up there but I’ll tell everybody the same thing come down here and spend six months living with me and tell me how you feel about that gate,” Allen said.

The privately funded border wall was completed in the summer of 2019 and prior to that access to Monument One was much easier.

Border Patrol has previously claimed the privately funded border wall plays a large role in reducing the amount of illegal border crossings in the area.

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