Basically, a no-man’s land
Mr. Jim Chilton is 89-years old. He’s a fifth-generation cattle rancher
who, in spite of his age, still runs the Chilton Ranch at Arivaca, Arizona. It is a 50,000-acre spread outside Tucson, much of which abuts the Mexican border. Chilton’s truck can be frequently seen heading in one direction or another on the ranch, but no matter on what day or what time of day, Mr. Chilton is likely to spot armed members of a dangerous Mexican drug cartel moving with impunity along a favored illegal-immigration track. “It’s still the wild west out here,” he said.
Chilton’s only barrier to illegal activity from Mexico is a three-strand barbed-wire fence, which is about as effective as screen-doors on a submarine. The rancher estimates that around 4,000 drug-packers cut across through his land each year. But its more than drugs —it is also illegal immigrants. They’re not just from Mexico; they come from all around the world. What makes his land dangerous to both himself and his wife is that these illegal aliens are desperate to seek out a new life in the United States, at the taxpayer’s expense.
A desperate man is a dangerous man. Jim said, “You used to get old fashioned coyotes who would bring people across. They’d get $200 or $300 from each of ‘em, the fee for guiding them into the US. Now the operation is run by a cartel. They have scouts on top of our mountains. They charge about $3,000 for Mexicans, $7,000 to $9,000 for Central Americans, and between $25,000 and $75,000 for Asians. Most of the people coming through are just looking for work; they come from Guatemala, Honduras, and other Central American states. We’ve also had Iraqis come through, people from states in the Middle East, but most of the arrests made by the Border Patrol are from Guatemala.”
Chilton —who manages the ranch with his wife— describes the illegal activity as a national security issue. He believes that the border wall proposed by President Trump should be built because with the nearest Border Patrol station 80 miles away, there is no security for the Chilton’s. “It looks like the government has given up the fight,” he said.
Chilton has long warned the US government that the few strands of fence that separate Mexico from the United States is overwhelmingly inefficient keeping anyone out of the United States. “The lack of a serious barrier, combined with the Border Patrol’s enforcement decisions have effectively ceded miles of US territory to the Sinaloa Cartel, which stations guards on the mountains overlooking the ranch.” It was precisely this lack of barriers and few border agents that resulted in the ambush of a federal officer.
Drugs and illegal immigrants are a lucrative business, and according to Mr. Chilton, armed members of the drug cartel in Mexico controls much of his land. “They carefully time their movements to avoid being seen. The Border Patrol don’t come out here —they’ve left this area basically available to the cartel. It’s basically a no-man’s land.” Federal officials labeled the ambush as “A shooting incident,” but according to Mr. Chilton, if it wasn’t for the agent’s bullet-proof vest, he wouldn’t be alive today.
Mr. Chilton opined that the shooting could have been averted had the government taken our border security more seriously. “President Trump needs to complete the wall and fill the 25-mile gap and move the Border Patrol to the international boundary rather than 80 miles from the boundary.”
Brandon Judd, a Border Patrol agent (who also serves as President of the National Border Patrol Council) said that the area of the Chilton Ranch “is one of our most dangerous stretches on the border. It cries out for Mr. Trump’s wall,” he added. “If we had a wall in this location, the shooting would never have taken place.”
In a statement to the Washington Times, Judd said, “Unfortunately, our agency is still run by the Obama holdovers that gave us the failed open-border policies and operations of the past. Until serious changes are made, we will not be able to secure the border with those that refused to embrace the president’s vision on border security.”
Personally, I think that if Mr. Trump isn’t serious about border security, he ought to say so. If he is serious about it, then by all means —let’s take Mr. Chilton’s and Mr. Judd’s advice to heart and build the damn thing,