HOUSTON (AP) - The U.S. Border Patrol plans to poison plant life along a 1.1-mile stretch of the Rio Grande riverbank to eliminate the dense foliage used by suspected illegal immigrants and criminals to hide.
If successful, the $2.1 million pilot project, which is set to begin this week, could later be duplicated along as many as 130 miles of river in the patrol's Laredo Sector, as well as other parts of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Houston Chronicle reports opponents of the action say it harkens to the Vietnam War-era Agent Orange chemical program and could be harmful over the long-term.
A Border Patrol agent says the project is designed to protect the country and keep agents safe.
Members of the Laredo City Council have raised concerns about the spraying program and called on Mexico President Felipe Calderon to intervene.
Mexican officials are raising concerns the herbicide could threaten the water supply for Nuevo Laredo.