Would a wall work? We asked a former border agent - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Would a wall work? We asked a former border agent

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Retired Chief Border Agent Ray Ortega spent three decades of his career on the frontlines securing our nation's border. During his time, Ortega witnessed gruesome acts of violence along the San Diego/Tijuana border. "Witnessing murders along the border fence that you couldn't do anything about. Sometimes several a night. Women and children being raped where you couldn't get to them and rescue them. That went on for decades," said Ortega.

In 1986, San Diego border agents reached a breaking point apprehending 629,000 people, in just one year. In 1989, Ortega witnessed the construction on a 14 mile border fence began to help secure the heavily trafficked border between Tijuana And San Diego. Ortego credited the fencing for curbing the kind of violence he witnessed. "What we did is we built this 14-mile section of fence, and it basically stopped all of that activity." Ortega told KHQ.

In Ortega's 26 years of southern border experience, he says having a secure border works, "Having a secure border does prevent that kind of activity. That kind of criminal activity and I believe that good fences make good neighbors."

Fencing now spans 700 miles along parts of the 2,000 miles of U.S./Mexico border.

While some people come through the southern border from all over the world illegally, a problem still remains "People are coming here through the border from all over the world. They work their way to Mexico, and they come across the border illegally." Ortega said. He continued by saying "Additionally we have tens of thousands of people who come here with visas tourist visas, student visas,  business visas and there is no way for the government to track them and they tend to disappear into society."

"The risks of living without a secure border is you don't know who's coming in. There is no way to vet them. They tell us who they are and that's what he have to believe." Ortega told KHQ. 

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