Local News


Woman's home would be on south side of proposed border wall

Posted at 2:18 PM, May 15, 2017

We're a step closer to knowing what the new border wall will look like. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has picked the finalists. It's not naming them publicly at this point, but up to 20 companies could get contracts for the wall. It's supposed to be up to 30 feet high and impossible to scale or break through. Right now, Congress still hasn't approved how to pay for it.

What would you do, if the place you've called home for 20 years ends up on the southern side of the wall? That's what could happen for some people living near the border.

For Pat Bell, her home on the banks of the Rio Grande is her slice of heaven.

"Some of us call it God's country," Bell says. "With the palm trees and with everything we have here, the sunshine. It is so peaceful here and the birds are chirping all the time, the beautiful flowers and the Rio Grande. It's just beautiful."

Whether she's taking a stroll along the streets around her house, or feeding the birds in her backyard, Bell's 20 years living at the U.S. Mexico border have been everything she dreamed of. And a border wall is not a part of that dream.

"It's beautiful and the border wall would really disrupt all of this," Bell says. "I just don't think we need one at all."

Even when talk of a wall swirled during election season, Bell didn't think she'd be impacted.

"I felt like well we already have a border wall," Bell says. "So we won't be affected. So I was surprised when I heard that this huge border wall was going to go in."

The wall Bell is talking about is about a mile away from her house and is about 18 feet high. It runs around most of Brownsville but not her neighborhood, and she hopes it stays that way.

If plans for the wall move forward, Bell's house would be on the southern side of it, meaning she would need to go through the wall to get home.

"I would have to leave," Bell says. "I would be afraid if there were a big wall and locked gates. I would be afraid."

Bell says border patrol's constant presence is the reason she's not afraid now, and the reason why she believes the wall is unnecessary.

"We've never seen anything that would scare us in any way," Bell says. "We're very well protected."

Even with wall plans putting her lifestyle in limbo, Bell is still doing her best to enjoy it.

"There's no other place I would like to live," Bell says.

Hoping that she'll be able to do so for the rest of her life.

"I plan to stay here until I go to heaven," Bell says.