A Petition From Southern Arizona Ranchers on Border Security

A group of Southern Arizona ranchers are exercising their First Amendment rights in seeking a redress of grievances from their senators and congressman.

The following is a petition to the federal government written by several ranchers on the Arizona-Mexican border. These ranchers have to deal everyday with illegal crossings and lack of proper infrastructure that would make our southern border more secure. Unlike politicians spouting talking points, these ranchers have first hand knowledge of what is really going on along our southern border. The federal government is failing to adequately protect the private property rights of these ranchers.

One of the ranchers, Jim Chilton, is a friend of mine and I have been on his ranch which lies south of Arivaca, AZ, and extends to the Mexican border. On the ranch, the Mexican border is marked by a four-strand barbed wire fence. That’s all. There are many trails from the border through the ranch. Two years ago Jim set up cameras on two of the trails. During that time the cameras captured approximately 500 trespassers going both north and south. Jim suspects he has recorded drug smugglers. The ranch headquarters has been burglarized twice and often water supply pipes to stock tanks have been broken. The smugglers have free run of the ranch because there is no real barrier.

The Petition:

Whereas, one of the most active drug smuggling and human trafficking corridors in the Nation is the international boundary between Nogales and Sasabe, Arizona;

Whereas, 25 miles along the border area south of Arivaca is marked by only an old four-strand barbed wire cattle fence;

Whereas, the Sinaloa Cartel has control of this 25-mile international boundary and of the thousands of square miles of minimally patrolled ranchland adjacent to it inside the United States, due to lack of adequate border infrastructure, the Border Patrol has been largely restricted to a “Defense in Depth” strategy which is inefficient due to rough terrain and inadequate access and allows the presence of well- equipped cartel scouts on top of our mountains to successfully direct drug and human trafficking;

Whereas, although the Tucson Station Patrol Agent-in-Charge and Border Patrol agents try their best to do their job, the lack of access and infrastructure, cartel scout presence, and rough terrain and inefficient “Defense in Depth” strategy creates a de facto “no man’s land” in which border ranchers live and work;

Whereas, the national Border Patrol Council Vice President, Art del Cueto, has asserted on national television that under the present situation, no more than 50% of illegal crossers are apprehended;

Whereas, Border Patrol agents are headquartered in Tucson, eighty miles and three hours from the border on our ranches and there are no roads paralleling the border and no efficient north-south access for the Border Patrol to respond to incursions; and

Whereas, current “defense in depth” strategy means the Tucson Station Border Patrol agents are dispersed across the 4,000 square miles of area of responsibility and are operating in the “backfield” instead of operating on the 25 linear miles of the actual border;

Therefore be it resolved, Border ranchers petition our government to construct an adequate security barrier such as a Bollard-style fence at the border, good all-weather, well-maintained roads leading to the border and along it, adequate, modern flood gates at water crossings, appropriate surveillance technology to monitor Border Patrol personnel and border status, air mobile support, and reliable communications for Border Patrol agents to call for back-up, and forward operations bases near the border barrier to effectively secure the international boundary between Nogales and Sasabe, Arizona.

The petition is signed by these ranchers: Jim Chilton, Chilton Ranch; Tom Kay, Jarillas Ranch; John R. Smith, Arivaca Ranch; Ted Noon, Oro Blanco Ranch; and Lowell Robinson, Tres Bellotas Ranch.


This post was first published in the Arizona Daily Independent where it received more than 100 comments.

Our unsecured border – causes and consequences with video

“Our border with Mexico is intentionally being made insecure.” So says Zack Taylor, a retired Border Patrol Officer.

Border trash 2

I recently attended a talk by Mr. Taylor, a talk he has given in many places including on the Glenn Beck program.

According to Mr. Taylor, the main problems with border security are lack of sufficient staff at ports of entry, lack of rigorous enforcement of existing immigration laws, and lack of unfettered access to the border by the Border Patrol.

Detailed information about these issues can be found on the website of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (http://www.nafbpo.org) and more specifically in a report titled: “A Proposal for Comprehensive Immigration Enforcement and Reform,” see:


Unfettered access is a key issue. If you look at a map of Arizona, you will notice that much of our southern border consists of wildlife refuges, national monuments, wilderness areas, and an Indian reservation. NAFBPO says:

“The Border Patrol has been inhibited in its efforts to patrol the border by rules and regulations from other agencies, primarily the Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management. Their focus is environmental protection, not national security and they apply their rules to other government agencies regardless of impact on other missions. While on paper the Border Patrol has access to the lands managed by these other agencies, in actual practice their rules deny free access on an as-needed basis.

“… the access being impeded is not just to vehicles patrolling a line we call the border, but it generally precludes the installation of infrastructure such as cameras, sensors, radio towers, and landing strips and pads for aircraft in areas distant from the border. To be controlled effectively there must be in-depth activity by the Border Patrol extending as deep, in some places, as 100 miles.”

Taylor says that these restrictions, especially wilderness areas along the border, essentially cedes U.S. territory to the ever more violent drug smugglers.

Let’s take a look at a border area just west of Nogales. The 7,420-acre Pajarita Wilderness area was established in 1984 near the old Ruby mining camp. More recently, environmental groups and Rep. Raul Grijalva have tried to extend that northward with the proposed Tumacacori Highlands wilderness, an additional 84,000 acres. The Forest Service has closed many roads in that area. Motion-activated cameras set up in the area to monitor jaguars have also captured images of hundreds of drug and people smugglers passing through this area. The wilderness, wilderness proposal, and road closures have restricted access by the border patrol and has made this area a favorite entry point for smugglers. Taylor says that as much as 80% of wildfires along the border, such as the Monument Fire in 2011, are set by illegal aliens or smugglers as a diversionary tactic. He also says that the Border Patrol catches less than 5% of border crossers, so beware of statistics given out by Homeland Security.

Taylor also said that given the current situation, our laws are not being enforced in the border areas and that the whole immigration debate is really about money and power.

Given the rise in power of rival Mexican drug cartels, “Border security isn’t what it used to be. Over the last three decades our concerns have escalated from what was once as much a humanitarian issue as a security issue, to concerns over paramilitary violence, organized crime, and international terrorism.”

Ironically, another consequence of establishing wilderness areas, National Monuments, game refuges on the border is that those areas become trash dumps and focal points for illegal entry because the Border Patrol has limited access. There are many reports of hundreds of tons of trash, human waste, and even abandoned vehicles along the border and far into Arizona.

For instance, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which runs the 118,000-acre Buenos Aires Game Refuge in Southern Arizona’s Altar Valley issued travel advisories warning people about the area:

“As a result of illegal immigrants crossing our borders, other unlawful acts do occur within the Refuge. Some of the illegal immigrants are armed, dangerous, and determined to complete the trip at any cost. Most often these are smugglers and drug runners. They may drive a stolen vehicle or they may hire human ‘mules’ to carry their contraband in homemade backpacks.”

“These illegal routes are lined with empty water jugs and other trash. Illegal immigrants frequently stop to camp, collect wood and start fires. These fires sometimes escape and cause damage to wildlife habitat. Trash left at these sites is not only unsightly, it is unsanitary and attracts a variety of scavengers. Nearby water sources are often so fouled by pollution that wildlife can no longer use them. Some overnight rest stops are so heavily used that the damage is extensive. During the rainy seasons, trails and vehicle routes become avenues for floodwaters, further increasing the resource damage.”

An article by Michelle Malkin documents trashing the desert:

“Cleanup crews from various agencies, volunteer groups and the Tohono O’odham Nation hauled about 250,000 pounds of trash from thousands of acres of federal, state and private land across southern Arizona from 2002 to 2005, says the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

“But that’s only a fraction of the nearly 25 million pounds of trash thought to be out there.

“Authorities estimate the 3.2 million-plus immigrants caught by the Border Patrol dropped that much garbage in the southern Arizona desert from July 1999 through June 2005. The figure assumes that each illegal immigrant discards eight pounds of trash, the weight of some abandoned backpacks found in the desert…

“…In 2002, the United States estimated that removing all litter from lands just in southeast Arizona – east of the Tohono Reservation – would cost about $4.5 million over five years. This count didn’t include such trash hotbeds as Ironwood Forest National Monument, the Altar Valley, Organ Pipe and Cabeza Prieta.”

For an on-the-ground look, watch this YouTube video:


In spite of all this, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, recently claimed that the border is secure and we are seeing a “40-year low’ in illegal immigration numbers. Janet seems to be an embodiment of the Peter Principle: In an organization, employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence. Or maybe it’s just politics; it’s hard to distinguish between incompetence and politics, and, in political discussions, truth is optional.

P.S. Immigration politics: ‘I’m appalled to learn the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has begun to release hundreds of illegal aliens from custody, the first of potentially thousands to soon be freed under the guise of federal budget cuts,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer … in response to the release by Immigration and Customs Enforcement of hundreds of “low-risk” illegal aliens from detention. This release is a political ploy by the Obama administration in his war with Congress over the budget “sequester.” The sky will surely fall when the feds are forced to cut spending by one percent.

Pinal County, Arizona, Sheriff Paul Babeau said the release of hundreds of detainees over the weekend was “outrageous and unacceptable, because there’s a direct and immediate impact to public safety of families in my county.” The feds did not notify local law enforcement officials of the pending release.