Report From the New Mexico Border

I grew up and live on the border in New Mexico.  I knew Rob Krentz, the rancher in southeast Arizona, famously murdered by a Mexican national while out on his own property.  The day before the murder he helped the Border Patrol to recover a fairly large amount of marijuana hidden on his property -- the BP did not chase down or arrest the drug carriers involved, telling Rob that merely taking their drugs would be punishment enough when the unsuccessful smugglers returned to Mexico and faced their bosses’ wrath.  One of those who got away came back and killed Rob the next day. 

Drug smugglers still inhabit the mountains all around this area, even in public campgrounds on a close-by national forest. Local and state law enforcement is prevented by federal authority to arrest or enforce law concerning these matters -- they have simply erected signs to warn those who come to visit, and washed their hands of the responsibility of action.  All authority is given over to “Homeland Security.”  This is an example of federally mandated “policy” being implemented as if it were law, which it is not.  Especially since 9/11, it has been S.O.P. for both parties to practice this “new” kind of governance.

I am witness to the southern border area becoming a vast, lawless and ungovernable area, much like the “Frontera” of Mexico just across the line where more than 50,000 people have been murdered in the last few years.  This is ongoing, but I suspect the average American does not know it, and has not thought about how simple, or how sacrosanct and important a border is.  Property that has no edges or limits cannot be governed.   Imagine trying to protect your home if the walls and yard fences were questionable as “your area.”

I risk the lives of friends and family if I write specific instances that I know of, where there have been threats and coercion by individuals and by cartel sponsored smugglers and even by federal authorities. 

Someone forced a friend, while her family was taken hostage, to take a woman in labor to a local hospital to give birth to a new “American,” a precious and innocent infant, planted to make illegal activities easier. 

Others were openly threatened if they reported suspicious activity.  Murdered, headless bodies discovered near homes and family.  A father murdered in the presence of his family because he would not give his farm equipment to the cartel locals -- on this side of the border. 

Private pilots who tell me the “highways” along our mountain ridges through the border are distinct and beaten down by extreme use. 

Businesses closing, ranches and farms going under, schools losing students and funding to the point of dysfunction, property values plummeting -- I am affected by these things daily. 

And the Mexican-Americans -- farmers, ranchers and productive workers of all ilk are doubly affected.  They are lumped in with the illegal criminals, and have their politicians and Hispanic activists claim it is just racial prejudice that causes us to speak up, and they resent it the same way I do. 

We do not see ethnic background as the issue at all -- it is a life-threatening thing we face.  And there is no authority to go to for remedy.  And we are in the United States of America!

I have heard of officials warning locals to keep their stories to themselves “for their own good.”  No one will help us, especially our own senators.  They are too busy sticking to party politics, and the truth would be too ugly to admit. 

And all of the people I know, that I mention above, are all actively involved in taking care of those who are less fortunate.  People who live in my county live their Christian faith.  Illegals dumped in the desert by human traffickers end up at our doors, and no one who is hungry or thirsty is turned away.  Yet helping these unfortunates is increasingly dangerous.  Rob Krentz was one of those, and helped many who came across the border.

And still I am telling you: a fence will not work.

The landscape through most of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California is vast beyond what the average city-dweller can imagine.  It is not flat or empty.  It is rife with geographical features that are hugely significant and rugged beyond imagination.  We have nine thousand foot mountain ranges and rivers that flood and carry away roads and bridges.  We have family ranches on the border that are a quarter to half a million acres, with only a few cowboys who take care of the widely scattered cattle.

Illegals follow the crest of these mountains.  How do you fence this?  The engineering of such a project, the moving of mountains, the drainage of waterways and other issues too numerous to mention, are overwhelmingly problematic.   A simple flash flood can wash out the most impenetrable fence.   

Adding insult, there are those that think the border should be cleared for “at least a mile” (on our side, of course) to make a demilitarized zone that can be manned and controlled.  This would wipe out hundreds of productive ranches and farms -- not to mention entire ecosystems.  An impenetrable fence would create huge problems for the wildlife (if you care about such and the people who live here do -- hunting is as much our way of life as ranching.) There is a lot of wildlife here and a lot of species are affected; our county has the highest biodiversity in America.

There are hundreds of thousands of Americans who live in the rural border area of the United States.  Their livelihoods and their small towns and schools and families have inhabited the border area since statehood and long before.  By building an impenetrable fence, you ask them to sacrifice for an idea that will never work.

We had a 6-strand barbed wire fence and an unprotected river on the Mexican border for over a hundred years, and it worked fine. Mexicans and Americans did not buy enough of what the folks coming across illegally were selling, on either side, to make it profitable for the average Joe to bother with. Currently, that is not true.

What we need to do is to quit inviting, and paying illegals to enter our country.

IF people were coming here, uninvited, in organized, militarized numbers to invade, own and kill us with weapons, as in the Nazi invasion in Europe in WW2, a fence may be called for, but that is not what they are doing.  They are merely coming here, at our behest, to sell us things that are illegal for us to buy – which we buy anyway.

I know many local people addicted to drugs, and those that are just “casual” users, who claim it to be a “victimless crime.”  They keep shelling out money to make it worse.  These issues arise as the result of the failure of individual morality, a sense of entitlement to do as we please regardless of outcome. 

A fence will not, and cannot, make for a safe and functional border.  A fence cannot fix greed and addiction.  As Pogo said, “I have met the enemy, and he is us/”

Issue Number 1:  We Americans are enthusiastic customers of illegal drugs.  Our love of illegal drugs literally funds our numerous enemies throughout the world.  And the drug trade illegals that enter this country are often armed and are always dangerous. 

Think about it; the drugs we buy fund terrorists around the world, and pay for the bullets and weaponry that threaten and kill citizens, whom we then defend with our military (which we also fund), all enabling us to remain addicted -- internally and continually robbing Peter to pay Paul. 

The drug cartels south of us are wealthy beyond mere billions, and they run the governments of some of the countries between the U.S. and the Panama Canal.  They starve and enslave their own. They also blatantly fund the imams, and other enemy heads-of-state who control many areas of the Middle East (their heroin-producing brothers). 

These foreign enemies, when combined with our own government and drug-users and drug abuse treatment and enforcement professionals whose livelihood comes from illegal drugs, have endless motivation to keep regular Americans ignorant of the real issues.  A real solution to this, the individualized sobering up of America, would render so many billionaires penniless (both legal and illegal), and so many politicians powerless, that I am convinced they will fight public understanding of it to the bitter end.

Issue Number 2:  It is not as imminently fatal as the first but it affects much larger numbers of people and far more money.  Big business is always seeking cheaper labor. 

Agribusiness was the first, but the construction industry is gaining ground, becoming almost as egregiously illegal in their hiring practices as agriculture used to be.  It may even be true that servitude, the hiring of domestic/small business workers, may be right up there in numbers with the other two. 

Most people do not know that agribusiness cleared the way to legally hire foreign workers, but all categories of business do so now even if the workers get here by illegal means.  Strictly speaking, that is not legal, but since our government now only enforces laws they like, the practice is widespread.  Simply put, this is the biggest reason immigration is out of control.  Our government and our corrupt officials want it that way.  Big business wants it that way.  Your senators and congressmen are paid big bucks to keep it that way.

Issue 3:  The fence.   If you are backing a candidate for the presidency of the United States who is fomenting the idea of a beefier and more impenetrable fence between the U.S. and Mexico, you should consider what it takes to make a fence work.  The only times in history that a fence, as a border, was effective was when the government that built and controlled the fence put armed guards on duty 24/7 and gave them orders to kill anyone who scaled the fence.  So, if you wish for such a fence, and for it to be effective, you must have the stomach to follow with that modus operandi.

If I have not convinced you to reconsider your opinions on immigration/border issues, then ask yourself, why are we not having the same problem with the Canadian border?  Simple answer:  Canadians will not work for very little money, and without benefits, and illegally, and they do not have drugs to sell us.  It really is that simple.

The issues with the Mexican Border could not be simpler:  If Americans stop buying what the illegals are selling, they will stop coming.  We do not need to build a fence because a fence will not work.  We need to change our behavior.

Crystal Foreman Brown is a lifetime resident of southern New Mexico.  For the last 42 years, she has lived and worked as an artist in a town with a population 250, in the "bootheel" of NM, (some of God's most beautiful country).  she was born in El Paso, TX, and raised just north of there in Mesquite, NM.