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children were tired. Daniel, 6, and Erika, 13, climbed in back of the pick-up to sleep in the camper, while their 7-year-old sister, who is disabled, sat up front with their parents. Normally it would take 15 minutes to cross the Zaragoza bridge; this time it took an hour and a half. By the time they stopped for inspection, Erika and Daniel were dead of carbon monoxide poisoning, the victims of a 1980 pick-up truck with a faulty exhaust pipe. To Antonio Meza Estrada, the Mexican Consul in El Paso, they were also two more victims of the terrorist attacks. Compared to anthrax, which was dominating the headlines at the time, death from carbon monoxide received little national media attention. But the deaths of Erika and Daniel added to the clamor coming from businesses and local officials on both sides of the border. Something had to be done about the delays at the bridge. From Washington, Silvestre Reyes, the Democratic congressman from El Paso and former chief of the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector, called for increased manpower all along the U.S.-Mexico border. \(He also called on President Bush to extend the deadline to apply for the new laser visas. After the terrorist attacks, Congress nixed an earlier initiative to extend bled the number of National Guard troops sent to assist the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs. Meza thought Mexico should have been consulted first. Longtime border rights advocates were worried. “The use of the National Guard, the Army… significantly alters the democratic values of this country,” insists Maria Jimenez, a veteran immigrants’ rights activist with the American Friends Service Committee in Houston. And it was not so long ago that efforts to combat drug trafficking along the border by sending in the Marines had ended in tragedy. In 1997, Ezequiel Hernandez, an 18-year-old high school student in Redford, along the West Texas border with Mexico, was shot to death by a U.S. Marine. Hernandez had been herding goats at the time. The Marine was a member of a military drug-control task force operating under the authority of the U.S. Border Patrol. The Marine patrols had ended after Hernandez’s shooting. Now the National Guard would Left to right: Bombero Samuel Peiia; checking for contraband and bombs; waiting for the Christmas crowds with Jose Magalia at the Al Rio store in El Paso; crossing the border on bicycle 12/21/01 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9