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  • Allen Czermak

Securing The Southern Border With Steel Shipping Containers

The situation of steel shipping containers is two fold. First, as we are informed by the news media, there is a backup at the Port of Los Angeles of shipping containers for months. Second, what can the shipping companies who own the expensive empty TEU containers do with them? In normal times, these containers would be sent back to China and other locations full of goods to be exported. This is a double bonus for the owners of these containers, firstly they make money holding the cargo that is coming to the United States on ships and secondly the containers are then filled up in America with goods to be exported to different countries such as Singapore and China.

With the labor and trucking situation at crisis level, empty shipping containers are sitting useless in different cities of America. Foreign ships are stuck in the Port of Los Angeles and other shipping venues waiting for trucks with large enough chassis to move them to their various locations. As long as there is a stalemate with shipping containers there are very few logistics companies willing to transport filled containers of merchandise unless it is worth their while financially even if they would be available. So instead many truckers are sitting idle while getting compensated by the government for their time instead of transporting shipping containers.

What would make these transport companies to be willing to transport empty shipping containers? The government of Texas has come up with a solution for these idle and bare containers. Only an operation costing billions of dollars in state funds could motivate haulers and container owners to come back from the dead.

The Steel Wall On The Texas Border

A “steel wall along the southern border” is being erected using vacant shipping containers to control the border along the Rio Grande in Southern Texas to prevent caravans and migrants from coming into the United States from Mexico to Texas. The State of Texas is getting creative with border security and at the same time making use of an abundance of shipping containers with no home. At the same there is no construction involved and the cost for such a project is rather minimal with the primary material, a steel shipping container being readily available.

How Is This Plan Implemented?

Twenty giant containers in a row were placed in the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas on the riverbanks and interbedded between these containers are armored vehicles ensuring that no illegal person gets through the border. Texas Department of Public Safety state troopers and their fleet are a second security line to stop migrants from crossing the Rio Grande river to enter Texas illegally.

This past September, approximately, 15,000 migrants who were mostly Haitians, crossed the Rio Grande and camped under an international bridge. The government was then forced to close this port of entry completely in order to curtail this illegal migration.

The use of inactive steel shipping containers for the prevention of illegal immigration by river is part of a larger initiative named, Operation Lone Star which Governor George Abbott created in March. This was a venture that was established in response to the migration crisis that was not properly tackled by the new Presidential administration.

The reason for these border control actions is because these migrants were endangering the lives of the citizens of Texas. According to the governor, Texas does support legal immigration but does not support open border policies that become a humanitarian crisis in his state. Liberal politicians are accusing the Texas governor of instituting a separate state immigration policy differing from the national one. National Guard Public Affairs Officer, Major Mike Perry announced at a recent briefing that National Guard Units as well as state troopers are collaborating with private ranchers to put up blockades on their private property in conjunction with other strategic methods.

According to the regional director of DPS for South Texas, Victor Escalon Jr, there have been at least 9,300 criminal arrests and more than 163,000 migrants have been caught at the Texas border range from Del Rio to the Rio Grande Valley during this tactical Operation Lone Star. The criminal offense that the migrants have been arrested for is called simply criminal trespass. Instead of overcrowding the county jail with these people, holding areas have been set up in various cities such as Edinburg and Dilly to keep over 1,000 migrants who have been charged with criminal trespassing.

It is somewhat ironic that shipping containers used in the legal import and export of goods to and from America should be used to prevent illegals from entering our country. With the shortage of capable truckers right now it is a pity that something can’t be worked out to get the people who do come in legally to work for the logistics companies. They could be happy with lower wages and better working conditions and there would be winners all around. Instead these shipping containers have become political pawns in an antiquated marine logistics system.

Surplus containers instead of being used for the purpose they were manufactured are sitting on the border preventing illegal immigrants from entering our shores. This is an important and necessary task as of now. But, if we would have a logical immigration system we could put sincere legal immigrants to work and help us solve the very needy shipping problem that the United States is encountering right now. The holiday season is behind with some children getting their presents and others that received alternated gifts. Now is the time for something to change at the Western side of our country just as something has to change at our Southern borders.

Can’t The Shipping Containers Be Scaled?

Migrants that are looking to enter the US illegally can easily scale these containers with even the most basic climbing rope. It's pretty easy. Simply attach a grappling hook to the end of the rope and hoist it towards the top plain of the shipping container until it catches on a steel nook. Once secure, the climbers can propel themselves atop the container and easily jump down the other side. However, no one is saying that securing part of the Texas border with shipping containers is the answer to stopping migrants from crossing illegally. What Texas Governor Gregg Abbott is looking to accomplish with these shipping containers is to create another deterrent for those who attempt to cross the border illegally. When there are obstacles in the way it can free up border agents in those areas and allow them to be deployed to other high risk zones where they are needed most. At the same time if there are migrants that do attempt to scale these containers, it will be much easier to catch them. It may sound surprising to some Americans but there are many holes along the southern border that migrants can walk straight through. The idea of setting the empty shipping containers there will make it slightly more difficult for illegal crossing to take place on the Texas border.

Is Twenty Shipping Containers Enough?

The shipping containers were spotted down along the riverbanks in the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas. This is a place where both legal and illegal crossings take place at the Eagle Pass International Bridge. At night, the migrants that are looking to enter the US illegally can be taken there by vehicle and get out just before the border. It is there that they attempt to swim across the Rio Grande River and enter the United States. Since it is a high risk area, the shipping containers assist the border agents in capturing these illegal aliens and send them back to the respective countries. More importantly, the containers can prevent a large caravan from passing into Texas at the low water crossing in the Rio Grande River.

Final Words

From an outside perspective, it seems like shipping containers are a nice idea to help secure the border but eventually we will need a complete wall. Keep in mind that only in the midst of a supply chain crisis are there empty containers sitting around but as things begin to ease they will be once again part of the shipping logistics chain. No one is saying that these shipping containers that liter the Rio Grande River are going anywhere, it’s just not a long-term solution. It’s true that some water ports are not accepting any empty shipping containers because there is simply no place to put them and for now they are available to be used for border security. But eventually the shipping ports will begin to accept these containers and send them back to Asia either full or empty. As for Texas, they have their hands full with border security. They are obligated to protect their citizens and at the same time put up with insane government policies that reward illegal border activity. Securing the border is not gonna be fixed but we can be creative with how to protect it and that is exactly what Governor Greg Abbott is doing.



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