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Mr. Speaker, a friend of mine in Texas, John, sent me a recent article from the Tucson Weekly written by Leo Banks. The article shines a bright light on life in Arizona north of the border and the shock after the murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz. The murderer shot Rob, then his dog, and then fled down the Black Draw on the Geronimo Trail, headed back to Mexico. Rob's sister, Susan Pope, says things have gotten so bad, she can't honestly remember the last time she felt secure.
The Popes' home is in the mountains and it has been broken into three times. Susan works as a bus driver and a teacher at the one-room Apache Elementary School. That elementary school has been burglarized so many times that nothing of value remains there. How can you teach children in an atmosphere like that? They say everybody there knew something like Rob Krentz' murder was about to happen.
Susie Morales lives near Nogales. She said, when she cooks dinner in her kitchen, she can look out and see people, drug mules, with backpacks full of drugs. They are on a trail 75 yards from her front door. Another trail 50 yards from her back door exists. These trails are so close that, when Susie spots the paramilitary squads, she runs into her bathroom with her cell phone, hides and shuts the door. She has to keep her voice down so the drug cartels don't hear her calling for help, and she carries a .357 magnum with her at all times.
Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, however, says arrests are down on the border's 262-mile-wide Tucson sector. Those arrests are not numbers of actual crossers, however, and these misleading statistics are used to say border security is working.
However, the truth is just the opposite. The people who got away from officially numbered arrests outnumber them three to one. Frontline lawmen will tell you that it is more like four or five to one to get away.
The Feds boast of 628 miles of fencing now in place, but only 310 miles of that is actually fence. The rest of it, 318 miles, is vehicle barriers that don't stop anybody on foot. Foot traffic still pours over the mountains south of Sierra Vista to the tune of 1,500 a week according to local citizens who count them by placing hidden cameras on the trails. Rancher John Ladd counted some 350 illegals on his San Jose ranch over a period of 18 days before this newspaper interview. He says he is on the phone with the Border Patrol on an average of three times a day, seven days a week, to report groups crossing his ranch.
As one resident said, "We are under the gun all the time. There are people watching us all the time. The smugglers have scouts on the hills watching us, watching Customs, watching Border Patrol. They're terrorists, very militaristic, and they get a high out of it. As long as they can get away with it, it's okay. That's their mentality."
They say the most dangerous thing you can do as a citizen is reach for your cell phone if seen by one of the drug smugglers. Forget you even own one. Keep your hands visible. And no sudden moves if you are spotted. If you encounter the wrong guy and he thinks you are calling Border Patrol, he might just start shooting at you.
Now, when men go out to work at their corrals on the border on their ranches, sometimes miles from the house, their wives go along, too. They are afraid to be alone in their own home. That is no way to live, Mr. Speaker.
People on the border are under siege by the crime cartels. The people-smuggling operations have been taken over by the drug cartels, and the coyotes and the drug cartels work together to smuggle people and drugs across the border, all in the name of money. To cross around Douglas, the rate has gone up to $2,500 per person. When they don't have the money to pay the drug smugglers and the coyotes, they carry drugs as payment to cross.
Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said in recent Senate testimony, ``I guarantee that every group coming across that border today has a gun.'' Just Friday, a deputy sheriff was shot by narco-terrorists carrying AK-47s in Pinal County, 70 miles north of the border.
Those ill-informed elites that don't live in a border State, but reside in high rises in New York or San Francisco, live in "never-never land" when they criticize Arizona for trying to protect its people.
The border is not safe. Ask people who live on the border, both Mexicans in Mexico and Americans in the United States. Those residents call the border a war zone.
The United States protects the borders of other nations. It's about time we protect our own border.
And that's just the way it is.
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