I read with both interest and perplexity an Associated Press article in Sunday's Albuquerque Journal regarding the issue of Border Patrol overtime. AP reporter, Alicia Caldwell,* while not outright calling the situation abusive, certainly hinted at that possibility by pointing out that overtime is up while apprehensions of illegals are down. I think Caldwell misses a very important point which my wife and I just experienced first-hand.
We recently took a jaunt through New Mexico's Boot Heel and explored several areas in Southern Arizona. There were frequent occasions when the only other vehicles we encountered for many, many miles were Border Patrol and they were everywhere, on the highways and on the unpaved roads we drove as well. They were such a ubiquitous presence that, had they been military vehicles and personnel you could realistically conclude you were in a combat zone, which I suppose, in a way, we were. And yes, we were well-armed. At one point, at the end of a steep, twisting, narrow, unpaved road ending at a mountain top overlook, we came upon a well manned Border Patrol outpost where a large, truck-mounted, electronic array was sweeping a panoramic vista taking in hundreds of square miles of the Mexican border area.
Later, at our hotel, I mentioned this blanketing presence in an email to my brother in California, commenting on how sometimes the Border Patrol vehicles were the only ones we saw for many miles at a time, even on state highways. His response was to remind me that if it weren't for all those distinctively marked federal pickup trucks and SUV's, we might be encountering a heavy northward flow of old beat up pickups, jam-packed vans and blacked out SUV's of a far different origin and with a far more sinister purpose.
Of course, he is absolutely right and that is precisely what reporter Caldwell fails to comprehend: the deterrence factor our country purchases with those overtime hours. That massive show of strength has to be something that weighs heavy in the minds of those who used to violate our borders with impunity. Considering the billions that such illegals cost taxpayers for health care, education, criminal activity, incarceration, unpaid taxes, etc., this senior citizen thinks a few hundred million for Border Patrol overtime is a clear bargain.
*Link is to Denver Post as Albuquerque Journal requires a subscription