Grim report from Arizona border


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Jun 20, 2006
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San Diego, CA
I've copied a few excerpts of this article below. It's hair-raising... and tells its own story. See the full article for a lot of pictures, and more info.

This stuff is happening RIGHT NOW.


Following the Amnesty Trail

Leo W. Banks follows one of Arizona's most popular illegal alien crossing routes and finds piles of garbage, trampled public lands, angry residents and the suspected presence of a vicious gang

FEBRUARY 15, 2007


In the coming weeks, as President Bush and the Democrat-controlled Congress take up immigration reform, and the political talk turns to amnesty, everyone living along border smuggling routes will hunker down to wait for the worst. They know their lives will get miserable in a hurry.
The word amnesty possesses remarkable power on the Mexican side of the line. It has the same effect as a starter's pistol.

Bang! Let the land rush begin.

It happened after Jan. 7, 2004, when Bush floated his idea for a temporary worker program. The idea was broadly viewed in Mexico as amnesty, and the Border Patrol's own survey proved it. In the weeks following the proposal, the agency quietly questioned crossers apprehended at the southern border and found the president's plan had caused a big spike in illegal crossings. Forty-five percent said they'd entered our country "to get Bush's amnesty."


The Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge has 5 1/2 miles of border within the corridor. Its land has been badly staggered by illegal immigration and drug smuggling, and visitors can see evidence of it within moments of arriving. The parking lot is surrounded by steel rails and a locked gate, and the office has bars on the windows and expensive security doors.

It looks like a building in a dangerous inner-city neighborhood, not an 118,000-acre preserve in some of Arizona's most picturesque land.

But the measures were necessary following six break-ins at staff housing in January and February 2006, and the theft of five vehicles from the parking lot in the same period. Refuge Manager Mitch Ellis sounds almost forlorn talking about it. "I feel like I'm in jail sitting in my office," he says.


The open border has also brought violent death to the Buenos Aires. The refuge in 2005 recorded four homicides likely committed by border bandits preying on illegals, and three more illegals had to be rescued after being shot.

The hardest-hit area is below Garcia Road, a dirt track running east to west about a mile north of the border. This parcel became such a hotbed of criminal activity that in October, Ellis ordered 3,500 acres off limits to the public--American land effectively taken out of American hands by the invaders.

"I essentially moved the border back a mile," says Ellis. "I had to. It was too dangerous to have my security people and volunteers there repairing the fence every day."


"I don't think people understand the impact of our little war here on the border. There's a lot of collateral damage to residents, land and homes." He shrugs. "Maybe people think it's worth the sacrifice. Corporate America does. They don't want the government coming into their businesses and taking half their workforce away, and that's the issue we're not addressing."

The National Guard has five observation posts here. At one of them, a commander says his troops recently saw armed men wearing dark uniforms moving with military precision along the Mexican line. With a grim chuckle, the commander tells me, "We call this place Iraq with bushes."


In six years of living at the 37,000-acre Palo Alto Ranch, Jason Cathcart's house has been burglarized 16 times, the last hit coming in June 2006. He'd just put bars on the window and installed a security door, and he thought he had the problem licked.

Then he ran out to run a quick errand, forgetting to lock the security door. He was gone an hour, but it was long enough. The bandit, who was probably watching the house, kicked in the door behind the security door, leaving a big boot print on it.

For a time, Cathcart hid his valuables inside the house--in a false ceiling in his closet. But in the summer of 2005, the bandits found this cubbyhole and swiped his pistol. "I finally broke down and bought a safe," says the 27-year-old cowboy.

In riding the desert on horseback, Cathcart has found hypodermic needles, diapers and baby clothes, and two human skulls. The latter at first appeared to be small white balls in the distance. Overall, he has found four bodies.

In July 2005, Cathcart was out riding when he saw a water bottle at the side of a road, and beside it, a pair of tennis shoes in perfect alignment, as if under a bed. When he looked into the brush, he saw a shirtless person sitting up against a tree, dead.

He initially thought it was a man. When he drew closer, he saw a breast, but only one. The second breast was gone. It had, in Cathcart's word, "exploded" when the body bloated in the July sun.

Now, when something catches his eye, he tries not to look.


John and Pat King own the Anvil Ranch immediately north of the Palo Alto. Traffic through this portion of the Amnesty Trail has been lighter than usual the past six months, in part because of the National Guard units stationed to the south.

But Pat King knows that will change soon. "The last time they talked amnesty, the traffic through here quadrupled," says the 63-year-old former Tucson nurse.

For the Kings, that means more pointless vandalism of their property, more bodies and more bicycles as drug dealers join the rush. The third photo shows a collection of about 50 drug bikes the Kings have found on the Anvil, 38 miles north of the border.

Burreros, or mules, ride the bikes across the line loaded with product, then abandon them in the desert. "We've seen illegals riding bicycles, too," says Pat. "But mostly, it's druggies. There's a bunch more bikes out in the desert."

The 50,000-acre Anvil has been so heavily crossed by illegals and drug smugglers that for the past nine years, John and Pat have been unable to leave their house unguarded. If they did, they say bandits would descend upon it within hours.

John and Pat must plan every move to thwart the worst elements among the throngs moving north. The Kings cannot celebrate Christmas together as a family. They'd like to be able to travel to Green Valley to spend the day with the grandkids, but that's only possible if someone stays home to guard the property.


Three years ago, Pat arranged for her cousin, Irene, to stay at the ranch while everyone attended a family funeral in Tucson. As Irene washed a car in the front yard, a Border Patrol bus arrived to haul out some illegals.

After the bus departed, Irene saw three illegals approach a gate about 100 yards away. Barking ranch dogs drove them away. But the illegals returned with sticks and forced the dogs to retreat. The men entered the front yard of an adjacent house--there are four on the Kings' property--at which point Irene fled into the main house and called the Border Patrol again.

The dispatcher said they were busy with the busload and would try to find somebody to send. From a window, Irene saw the men leaving the adjacent yard. They'd burglarized the house, rifling through the kitchen cabinets and tossing mattresses, and carrying their booty away in pillowcases.

Irene was so shaken up that Pat no longer asks her to housesit.


The fourth photo shows the Kings' daughter, Micaela McGibbon, inspecting brush-hut shelters that illegals have built in a secluded wash two miles from the Kings' front door. Among the litter around these huts, McGibbon has found handbooks advising illegals on their rights in the United States.


Read more, and see many pictures, in the full article at the URL above.

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