The following is a letter sent to President Biden by Southern Arizona Ranchers Jim and Sue Chilton, both friends of mine. Their ranch lies south of the small town of Arivaca and extends to the Mexican border which is “protected” by a four-strand barbed-wire fence.
State and local Governments and, more importantly, families suffer from the flood of hard drugs smuggled into our country across the southern border. Our motion-activated trail cameras document that more than one thousand smugglers and illegal entrants have crossed the international boundary in this rugged area through our ranch pastures south of Arivaca, Arizona. We estimate that over half of the camouflaged Cartel mules recorded by our hidden cameras carry hard drugs into our country to poison our people. Personally, we and our neighbors, as border Arizona ranchers, have had to live with the constant threat of this drug traffic for more than ten years since the Cartel took over this formerly unwalled, unguarded open pathway with no patrol road paralleling the border for their nefarious business.
Fisher Construction Company entered into a contract last year (2020) with the United States to construct a forty-two-mile barrier to halt unimpeded passage through this region’s border ranches and rural communities of illegal drugs, wanted criminals, sex traffic workers, and previously convicted and deported individuals. The contract was to close the open door between Nogales, Arizona and the Tohono O’Odham Reservation to the west. The work has been largely completed except for a five-mile gap.
Since Fisher Construction Company has purchased and located 100% of the steel bollards necessary to finish the work adjacent to the Border and since the cost of terminating the Fisher contract is estimated to be nearly equal to the cost of completing this work, it makes good sense to finish the portion now standing open. Clearly your initial decision to leave this work incomplete is welcomed by the drug runners, by their northern distribution network, and by their U.S. customers; it is not welcomed by law-abiding residents of this region who have been left with an illegal drug importation route running right through their ranches and delivering addiction to our fellow citizens.
We respectfully request you direct Homeland Security to honor the Fisher contract and complete the closure of this five-mile gap.
Jim and Sue Chilton
CC: Homeland Security, Border Patrol, Arizona Congressional Delegation
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