THE BORDER -- ACCURATE, CANDID, EDUCATIONAL - -- AND DISTURBING -- SICKENING
Last Thursday I was asked to fly Brady Beauchamp, a Republican candidate for US Congress (CD1 AZ) to Sierra Vista , AZ for a tour of the Arizona/Mexican border. I was invited to go on the tour and eagerly accepted. We spent 5 hours on the border fence. This tour was given by Border Patrol personnel at the "rubber meets the road" level, not higher headquarter staff or Public Information Officers level.
There were certain tactical information they were not allowed to share for security reasons and we could not photograph Border Patrol Officers (BPO) for their personal safety. I tried to insert several photos in this email but it overloaded the computer which spent all day yesterday trying to send the email so I've had to redo this report without the photos. I'll send a second email with a few and reference them to this email. Hope this all works.
There are media rumors that the Border Patrol is sitting back 50-60 miles from the border fence at road check points and not on the "line". This is ABSOLUTELY not the case. There are officers on the fence 24/7. The first line of defense, and best way to stop illegals is to catch them at the fence or within a mile after entering the US . There are several (at least 6) fence types in just the 50 miles or so that we saw. Most fences are built with a 5' footing to discourage burrowing under the fence but the vertical part of the fences are all different, not a standard appearance, different shape metal, different spacing, different height. Some are vertical concrete filled steel posts, some are vertical columns with heavy wire mesh, and one style is solid steel plate put up by the National Guard some years ago using metal aircraft landing planking. Some fence styles are 10', some 12', some 15'. Each style fence was built by different contractors and there is nothing standard. ALL have some weaknesses, ALL were climbable or scalable using one technique or another...rope ladders, wooden ladders, etc.
The BPOs like to be able to see through the fence so there are no surprises hiding on the other side.
The cartels have even built big hydraulic operated truck ramps mounted on a big truck to lay hydraulic ramps up over and down the American side so they can drive vehicles over the wall. Their favorite trick is to cut the fence with welding equipment and put hinges on the "door" they cut so it can be used frequently. They cleverly use putty or clay colored to match the steel members to hide the cuts so their doors won't be discovered and welded shut by us. The cartels operate with impunity on the Mexican side as the whole police and military force is paid off. It blew my mind to see blue flags waving in the breeze to mark the locations of blue 55 gal water barrels within a few yards of the fence (on the Mexican side) to show the illegals where to "top off" before assaulting the fence.
Every illegal who crosses is under the control and management of one of the drug cartels.
They pay $1000-2000 each for the "service" the cartel provides in getting through the fence and to a "safe" destination. Family members are detained by the cartel in Mexico until the payment made in full by sending $ back to Mexico. The BP is catching huge numbers of illegals but their effectiveness is limited by the number of agents available on the "line". No one goes along or without the cartel blessing. Groups run from 5 to 20 or more and are "guided" by a cartel employee who bolts at the first sign of trouble as they are usually also known criminals.
Once a "catch" is made the Officer takes them to headquarters for identification, fingerprinting and paperwork. It sounds like there is about 25-30% of the Officers time is doing these administrative duties. Our hosts said if they had double the number of agents and about one "back office" staff for every 3 agents they could stop nearly every illegal. The men (I saw no female Officers) are VERY dedicated, concerned, serious red blooded Americans...every bit the commitment, dedication and focus of our military...except I think the military has better leadership and morale because of it.
What would REALLY help the cause would be to build a double fence, of standard design, parallel to the current fence and about 50-75' apart and focus patrol in between. I suggested land mines and snipers stationed periodically but that didn't sell. One of the better techniques they use is to drag tires behind their trucks next to the border fence to create a smooth trail in the dirt/dust. They then drive slowly along "tracking" the dust areas to detect a crossing. Using radios and other agents, they try to sandwich the intruders. They have other tactics and technological equipment in use which helps greatly but would not talk much about it.
There is one piece of equipment we viewed but could not "see" that is a real "force multiplier". It's a truck mounted, 1 million dollar system that can track humans a long way off. With several more of those the job would get more effective quickly. Every time the US changes tactics so do the cartels--it's a real cat and mouse game. The BPO like having the drones but say they are not nearly as effective as helicopters for finding and staying over a group of illegals until ground personnel and capture them...they want lots more copters..
Then we came to the San Pedros river. The fence stops. The environmentalists will not allow a permanent fence to be built across the river (seasonally active stream and not the day we were there) because it's a riparian estuary and environmentally sensitive. That area had been real active recently according to the BPO standing watch there. As we drove up he had been watching a Mexican spotter in the cottonwood trees across the border. He anticipated a group coming through any time now. In that area the "fence" is some large X beams welded in 15' sections that my Toyota could drag out of the way.
A couple miles from there and going up the foothills for the mountains in that area, the fence quit....yes I said quit. That is US Forest Service land and "you can't build your darned fence on our ground". That is possibly going to change but still there is no fence there and the mountains are a "main highway" for drugs entering our country. As Pogo (cartoon character from many years ago) said "I have seen the enemy and he is us". It is freaking unbelievable!!
This section of the border is divided into sectors of about 20-30 miles each. The BP estimates that about 100 illegals try to cross every day and 500 each night in each sector. Their personal estimates for illegal population in the US is 35-40 million, not the politically correct number the politicians and media use of 10-12 million.
From interview and experience with the illegals they say those entering do not wish to assimilate into our way of life. They are Mexican and only want to be Mexican. It reminds me of what we saw throughout Central and South American on our trip there. Every population center on that continent was being overrun by people migrating to the cities and overwhelming the infrastructure and economic support systems.
Sound a bit different than what you hear from Washington or the media? It is...but remember this is from the "troops on the line" not the bureaucrats or their willing accomplices, the media. I'll close with the impressions I gathered and have considered for a couple days.
The trip was both incredible and incredulous. Once again our nation has put brave, loyal, dedicated defenders of our way of life in harms way and not given them the support, mentally or physically, to do the job and do it right. Under the present conditions it is "no win". The politicians and press do not have the intestinal fortitude to follow the will of the American people. The majority of Americans want our borders protected and politicians will NOT support getting it done. The current strategy reminds me , chillingly, of Viet Nam . I know I was there for two tours and flew 350 combat missions.
We lack the political will, shun and don't support the troops, not doing what is right...all in the name of politics. Our President, our senators, our head of Homeland Security have never seen what I saw or talked to the real warriors on the line. Shame on them...Washington is too comfortable and/or they are too important to take the time....what a disgrace.
Other than that I don't have an opinion. Feel free to spread this email to your friends and family of America!