Border Field State Park is the southermost point in California, adjacent to Tijuana. The US-Mexican border survey which took place following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ended the Mexican-American war in 1848, began at Border Field.
Copyright: cboswell / 123RF Stock Photo
The Border Patrol organizes ‘Door of Hope’ which reunites families on both sides of the border for a few minutes at this park.
A US citizen convicted of smuggling “43 pounds of heroin, 47 pounds of methamphetamine and 43 pounds of cocaine” was cleared by the border patrol background check to participate in the event. He used the opportunity to get married.
“The agents are upset, feel like they were taken advantage of, feel like they were duped,” said Joshua Wilson, vice president and spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council Local 1613. “Turns out we provided armed security for a cartel wedding.”
The incident could put future “Door of Hope” events in jeopardy. The event is closely monitored and choreographed, with a handful of vetted families on the U.S. side allowed to embrace and greet family members on the Mexican side in three-minute reunions under the watchful eye of Border Patrol agents.
Frontera de San Diego y Tijuana, by ikeaboi81, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
Similar events have been held six times in the past four years. The border patrol approves families to participate and this even last month included 11 families.
A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson says they ran a background check based on the information provided to them, but that the information they were given left off the conviction. That’s great to know that they rely on self-reported convictions when running background checks, so much for ‘extreme vetting’.
The couple didn’t give the border patrol a heads up about their plans for nuptials, came dressed for a wedding, and “signed documents from the Tijuana municipal authorities, posed for pictures and hugged” all in a few minutes.
The border patrol’s union rep said that “The agents there were powerless to stop it.” However it’s not clear why the federal government should be physically stopping a wedding in any case (had the woman entered the U.S. on a visitors visa getting married would run counter to the requirement she not show an immigratory intent).
The drug smuggling groom turns out to be a member of the SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection) program which allows “expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States” crossing a US southern land border. However because of his conviction he surrendered his US passport so couldn’t travel to Mexico to marry his fiance.