The Arizona Fires and the Border
The three recent fires in Southern Arizona once again bring the issue of border security to the forefront. These fires are an exemplary example of how the border is not secure. Experts and residents in the area interviewed by American Thinker are in complete agreement that all of these fires were set by people and that at least one, possibly all of the fires, were started by illegal immigrants.
These fires destroyed at least 60 homes, burned a great deal of acreage, and the havoc created will continue once the monsoon rains arrive, bringing with them the fear of massive flooding. A resident of the area was very grateful that no one died in this disaster; yet, cannot put into words how people's lives are devastated: losing their shelter, livelihood, belongings, and memories.
There is not only widespread speculation but some evidence that illegal immigrants are the cause of the fires. Tucson Border Patrol agents have confirmed to American Thinker that an illegal immigrant started one of the fires, the Murphy Fire, as a distress signal. He was probably smuggling illegals into the United States and they were overcome by the heat. He was arrested and while interviewed by the Fire Marshal admitted guilt. However, officials decided not to prosecute him and he will probably be deported to Mexico.
There is strong circumstantial evidence that another fire in Southern Arizona, the Monument Fire, was also started by illegals. A resident, Mary Ann Black felt that the drug and human smugglers light the fires "in one spot where everyone runs to, busting their tails, trying to put it out. Then they move their operation down further. I am certain that this is a new tactic. This new tactic really hurts us, is easy to do, and is free for them." The Tucson Border Patrol Agents agreed that fires have been started for deception tactics because "everyone goes to that area initially, which leaves a hole in the line. The enemies we are dealing with are not stupid. They are going to use any method to distract us." The Sheriff of Cochise County in Arizona, Larry Dever, feels that anyone who connects the dots will realize that the fires were started by illegals considering the history; the rugged, mountainous landscape; and the continuous smuggling activity in that area. Furthermore, Dever wanted everyone to understand that the National Park and National Forest were closed to the public several days before the fire started and "the area is widely known in law enforcement circles as a high intensity, drug smuggling corridor. Anyone that lives in this area knows that the only people that use the trails are illegal immigrants. In the Park there is a sign warning visitors that there is a prevalence of drug smugglers in the area. Since there is a strong probability that the fire was started by smugglers Americans should understand that the border is not safe. This does not fit the Obama's Administration paradigm."
Why is the Obama Administration mute on this issue? Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) in a private plane observed the devastation of the fires while the President did not. It appears to all interviewed that the President did not want to backtrack on his statements made regarding border security in May of this year.
Border security should be a bipartisan issue. In August, 2010 Giffords stated that "for my district, which represents the Tucson sector, last year we had over 240,000 illegal immigrants, that's over 660 every day, apprehended in the Tucson sector, 1.2 million pounds of drugs...I think there's a lot of ping-ponging, a lot of political gamesmanship...And frankly, the administration didn't elect me, my constituents elected me, and I'm going to do what's right for my constituents." Just recently Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was criticized for saying, "There is substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally. The answer to that part of the problem is to get a secure border." Currently Senators McCain and John Kyl (R-AZ) are requesting that the GAO (Government Accountability Office) examine how illegal immigrants have possibly caused the Arizona wildfires over the last five years.
Arizona Representative Peggy Judd (R) pointed out that the US Forest Service sent out to the firefighters a safety alert that stated that "[t]here is a real possibility firefighters will encounter illegal immigrants or drug smugglers...These coyotes are engaged in illegal activities, could be armed, and don't want to be caught. An encounter with these individuals poses a threat to personal safety...this area is deemed a high intensity drug trafficking area. Drug smugglers are moving large quantities of drugs across Federal lands...Drug smugglers are always considered potentially violent...Arson fires are being started to divert attention from illegal activities happening nearby." Judd also believes that past fires have been started to ruin the surveillance equipment and to burn the ground sensors.
Those living in the area are angry and upset and want Americans to understand, as stated by a rancher on the border, that "[t]he American public is getting raped by the administration. Because it is politically incorrect, they will never say that the fires were started by illegals." John Ladd, a rancher whose best friend lost his house, believes that "these fires are perfect examples of the way this border is controlled. There is no rocket science to determine who started this." Another resident, Sandy Kunzer, compares fighting these large fires to fighting a war. Arizona Representative John Kavanagh (R) agrees with Kunzer and further points out that "[i]f it were a bomb we would call it an act of terrorism. These people are here illegally causing major damage to Americans which shows that it is a homeland security issue."
Mr. President, instead of going to El Paso, Texas to make an immigration speech with hyperbolic language, maybe you should go to the Arizona border and listen to what Congresswoman Giffords has said in the past and what Senators McCain and Kyl, the border residents, and the Arizona representatives are currently stating. How many more fires have to be started and how much devastation has to occur before you realize the border is far from secure? As a matter of fact, Representative Kavanagh is willing to take you up on your offer and will be introducing a bill to enter in a contract with Florida to exchange helomonsters (lizards) for Florida alligators to put in the moat you suggested since you seem to be turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the reality of border security.