As I’ve said countless times on my own blog, I am not a very political animal. I have my opinions on things of a political nature but I rarely express them, and I very seldom post on anything political because I don’t feel as if I’m well enough informed on particular issues. I do have an opinion on whether or not there should be a fence along the border between Mexico and the States, and it has always seemed like a very good idea to me.
Living in Texas I see a lot of illegals and every time I see someone that’s clearly Hispanic in front of me in the grocery store, paying for their food with a LoneStar Card (plastic food stamps) or presenting a WIC form, I have to wonder how much of that is going to sustain illegal cousins, brothers, aunts, uncles, etc. I’m not naive enough to think that the only nationality that can use our Southern borders as a crossing is Mexican, but let’s be honest here for a minute; aren’t they the main concern?
* With voluntary participation of private landowners, Texas will use $5 million to begin placing hundreds of surveillance cameras along criminal hotspots and common routes used to enter this country. Perry said the cameras will cover vast stretches of farm and ranchland located directly on the border where criminal activity is known to occur, and â€œnot the neighborhoods where families will continue to enjoy their privacy.â€
â€œLandowners will be able to monitor and defend their property from those who might endanger their families. We will make the video feed available to state, local and federal law enforcement agencies so they can respond swiftly and appropriately,â€ Perry said. â€œAnd we will post this video on the Internet â€“ in real time â€“ so that concerned Americans can help protect our nation through online neighborhood watch programs.â€
The video will be available 24 hours a day and cameras will be equipped with night vision capabilities. When citizens witness a crime taking place, they will be able to call an 800 number and be routed to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
It just so happens that I have friends who have a 700-acre ranch that also includes a 1/2 mile of river frontage on the Rio Grande. While small by Texas standards, their nearest neighbor is 6 miles away, and the closest town of any size is Presidio where there is a Point of Entry via an International Bridge. Naturally, there is also an Immigration office. This town is approximately 28 miles from my friends ranch, and the other nearby towns are Ruidosa, population 19 and Candelaria, population estimated at 55. They don’t live down there, they’re hoping to retire there though, and they go several times a year to camp out and stay for a week or two at a time. Here is a picture taken on their ranch.
As you can see it’s very isolated.
I was visiting with these friends a few days ago and the conversation got around to the ranch and when they were going again and as I know the property is right on the border I asked their opinion of building a fence. Below is a quote sent to me via email after I’d asked a few more questions prior to beginning this post.
Candelaria is the last town on Hwy 170 or “river road” as it is known. The population there is a bit bigger I would guess around 30 or so. It is about 20 miles or so after Ruidosa. There is a sign when you get there that “State Maintenance Ends Here”. The dirt road goes on from there to El Paso, about 140 miles I was told, but you ain’t gonna get there unless you have a 4 x 4, extra gas and tires. The dirt road is where I was telling you about the trolleys that go across the river and the religious icons stuff set in small caves along the road. People out there still live in adobe houses and have no phone, lights or other essentials. Our very own 3rd world.
Another interesting fact about Candelaria is the foot bridge from the States to Mexico there (not an authorized crossing). The bridge was paid for with Russian humanitarian aid money! Can you believe that shit…:)
Once you get past the town they couldn’t even get the equipment in there to build the damn fence. Plus all the cattle ranchers on the river from Presidio on would just cut it to allow their cattle to get to the river for water…. it is the desert after all and water is a very scarce resource. A few are lucky enough to have artesian wells but most rely on what rain water they can trap and the river.
As you can tell from that quote they don’t have much faith in a fence doing any good. I asked then what their opinion of the Minutemen was and was told that “Their hearts are in the right place, and they have the right idea, but they’re spread too thin to do a whole lot of good.” So of course I asked what they thought would work. Guards, guards and more guards. An armed border.
One of the reasons they gave me for this was that even if someone saw the illegal crossers climbing or cutting through a fence, say, via Texas Governor Rick Perry’s camera idea, or the Minutemen calling someone, they would be long gone before anyone in authority arrived, particularly in their area where the road is far from straight, two-laned, and often has livestock wandering around. They say that it’s just too desolate to do any good without men on the ground, and then you have the water/rancher/cattle factor to deal with also.
They tell me that at night you can see lights back and forth all night and that while they feel fairly safe during the day, only seeing a few people with bags ready to swim across when they’re down on the riverfront also swimming, that it’s dangerous to be there alone. My friend’s mother recently stated that she wanted to get away, go down there and camp on her own, and they told her absolutely not, no way, even though she’s the best shot they know. There are too many drug runners mixed in with illegal wannabes, and even though there’s the INS station less than 30 miles away in Presidio, that they very seldom see anyone on patrol and we’re only talking here about a very, very small portion of the TEXAS border.
So what’s the solution? To fence or not to fence? Armed guards? It’s a tough one, but I agree, something MUST be done. I think my piranha idea is sounding better all the time.
Cross-posted at “Diane’s Stuff”.