Consequences of our unsecured border

border-patrol2“Our border with Mexico is intentionally being made insecure.” So said Zack Taylor, a retired Border Patrol Officer, during a recent talk I attended.

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 ( and more specifically in a report titled: “A Proposal for Comprehensive Immigration Enforcement and Reform,” see:

Unfettered access along the border is an egregious 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 (See video). 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 claims that as many as 80% of wildfires along the border, such as the Monument Fire in Coronado National Forest, June, 2011, are set by illegal aliens or smugglers as a diversionary tactic. (Incidentally, that fire lead to the destruction of the main water supply for the City of Tombstone and Forest Service bureaucracy is preventing its restoration.) He also says that the Border Patrol catches less than 5% of border crossers, so beware of statistics given out by Homeland Security.

Taylor says 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. 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 has 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 flood waters, 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.”

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 sometimes hard to distinguish between incompetence and politics (i.e., Benghazi?) and, in political discussions, truth seems to be optional.

Copyrighted by Jonathan DuHamel. Reprint is permitted provided that credit of authorship is provided and linked back to the source.