Saturday, August 13, 2005

las puertas al otro lado

In contrast to my previous post about immigration done right, we have this article from the Tuscon Weekly titled Images From The Battleground illustrating immigration done wrong.

Lyle Robinson's Tres Bellotas Ranch sits in a cradle of hills right on the Mexican border. It's a pretty place. Sprawling Mulberry trees shade the brick house and oak trees--bellotas in Spanish--decorate the surrounding landscape. This time of year, during the monsoon season, the oaks drop acorns that cowboys and others working this land, 13 miles southwest of Arivaca, have prized as summer snacks for centuries.

It hardly seems possible that such a peaceful-looking spot could be the scene of anything momentous. But it is.


This is a place where all the rhetoric from the president and his government about homeland security crumbles to pieces on the hot ground. The Tres Bellotas is a battleground in the relentless, ugly, nonstop invasion of drugs and illegals across our southern border.

This is a long article, but well worth the time to read it. The description of columns of illegals trekking across the landscape, trailing debris and sometimes corpses, and truckloads of illegals and drugs racing unlit through the night, and a landing of a helicopter containing masked, uniformed, and armed Mexicans should cause some concern. A lot of concern, actually. The frequency of border fences being cut to allow illegals in and cattle out, and the solution to constant repairs, goes beyond concern. Scarey would be a better word. From another rancher, Tom Kay:

Surprisingly, Tom doesn't consider the violence of the drug smugglers his biggest problem. It's how ridiculously easy it is for them, and people smugglers--the two often work together, sometimes within the same gang--to invade American territory. They simply cut the fence, or run it down, and they're in.

But that also lets his cows out into Mexico, and that explains the railroad ties.

In two places, Tom is replacing cuts in his border fence with cattle guards--the ties will line the pits below the steel guardrails--hoping the smugglers will drive or walk across the guards, rather than cut his fence.

It's a desperate measure, giving bad guys ready access through America's back door. But Tom and Lyle Robinson, who also plans to install border cattle guards, say it's the only way they can maintain control over their livestock. At up to $1,000 a head, every animal that drifts into Mexico threatens their ability to stay in business.

"I talked to the Border Patrol and the Forest Service about the fence cuts, and they said there's nothing they can do," says Tom. "They said do what you have to do."

Border Patrol spokesman Soto says the agency is aware of the repeated fence cuts, and has no objections to ranchers installing cattle guards.

Hmmm. For those of you who might not know what a cattle guard is, here is a description of how to build one. Basically, it is a passage through a fence that restricts cattle, horses and sheep, but allows unhindered passage to wheeled traffic. A gateway without a gate. Una puerta. Un pasaje sin restricción.

So here we have a situation where private citizens are installing devices allowing unrestricted passage, and the Border Patrol says it's OK? Even realizing that the fences are there to keep livestock contained rather than to keep people out, that attitude seems a little over the top.

What about personal security? Going armed is a way of life, for all the good it will be:

Whenever he rides his land, Tom carries a .44-caliber Magnum pistol on his saddle for self-defense, and for predatory lions. And when Dena goes for walks, she brings Ruby, the bull mastiff, and her pistol.

As far as she's concerned, the gun isn't optional. This is especially so in light of Border Patrol statistics showing that the common assumption about who is sneaking across the line and why--the harmless illegal only looking for work--has shifted significantly in recent years.

From Oct. 1, 2004, through July 24 of this year, Tucson sector agents arrested 375,000 illegals--37,000 a month. Of that 10-month arrest total, more than 28,324 had criminal records, 283 for sexually related crimes. Given this, and the effort it takes to reach their isolated house from the road, the Kays consider anyone who shows up at their door at night a threat. But they also know that should a confrontation go bad, American law enforcement will probably come after them.

"We've all been warned to not even show a gun to an illegal," she says. "A woman here did that a while ago, just showed it, didn't point it, and the FBI came to her house and warned her not to do it again, because it's a federal crime to threaten an illegal. But if I'm alone, what am I supposed to do? I can't scream, because no one will hear me."

[Lyle] Robinson is also sadly aware of whose side his own government is on when it comes to defending himself.

Potential criminal behavior aside, there is another aspect of the ease with which border crossings are made that should frighten all Americans.

The Border Patrol doesn't release a by-nation breakdown of those it arrests, and the agency is particularly tight-lipped about arrests of special interest aliens, known as SIAs. These are individuals from the list of about 35 countries the U.S. considers terror threats. But the Weekly has obtained SIA arrest figures from a federal law enforcement source who asked to remain anonymous.

From 2000 through 2003, plus the first nine months of fiscal 2004, agents in the Tucson sector, and the Arizona office of the Yuma sector, arrested 132 SIAs. The numbers include 10 from Afghanistan, seven from Iran, 12 from Yemen, 11 from Pakistan and three from Iraq.

Using the common estimate that the Border Patrol only catches one out of every three who cross, or as some believe, one of every five, we can calculate that upward of 660 individuals from terror-threat nations have crossed into our country through Arizona.

Those SIA arrest figures, by the way, include six individuals from Saudi Arabia, the country that produced 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 maniacs.

Homeland security?

What is to be done about this? Obviously, we must control the border, but how? Many solutions have been proposed, all with critics that show them unworkable, from fences, to military patrols, to reforming the entire economy of Mexico, and Central and South America so that there no longer remains an incentive to cross illegally.

I don't know what the final solution will be. I do know, however, that we must stop some of the current practices of coddling the illegals by providing safe sanctuary cities. They should be immediately shipped back to wherever.

Why do I support closed borders? Here is the answer.

(Thanks to Free Republic for the original link.)

Technorati : , , , , , , , , , , ,