Today, I considered 2 reports on the border issues in Arizona. First, I read a brief report in the Arizona Republic newspaper which I decided to subscribe to today for the balance of our visit. I think local news is important. We should not rely entirely on Comedy News.
The newspaper reported on a group of mostly Guatemalan asylum seekers that breached the U.S.-Mexico Border yesterday. A smuggler helped a group of 118 asylum seekers by providing a ladder so they could climb over the wall near Yuma Arizona. that sounds like a lot of people. They were caught on video surveillance scaling the wall yesterday. About 86% of them were families travelling together, Customs and Border Agency reported. The video showed a number of people dropping to the ground after scaling the fence that was about 18 ft.
As the members of the group dropped to the ground they huddled in a group. The person who supplied the ladder, on the Mexican side, was shown leaving the scene in a hurry. According to the report, the people were “brazen A spokesman for Border Security said, “It shows how brazen these smugglers are and the fact that they’re unafraid I wondered, ‘were they brazen, or were they desperate?” This incident happened about a mile from where 376 asylum seekers dug holes to tunnel under the border fence last week. That too sounds like a lot of people.
Is this an emergency as Trump alleges? Does it warrant spending billions on a wall? Does it warrant shutting down the American government? Some would say yes. That group in Yuma was the single largest authorities had encountered in the area.
Some say that the wall there is “only” 18 ft. high. We should build it 30 ft. high some say. Of course, if a wall is built 30 ft. high does that mean the next smuggler will get a ladder 31 ft. high? A border guard interviewed by the Arizona Republic said, it might not be so easy because the smuggler would need two 30 ft. ladders. One on each side of the fence (wall). The video showed that an 18 ft. drop was pretty high. Particularly for young children. There are always young children. We have to remember that. These were families with young children. Do we not care about that?
On the radio today I also heard an interesting interview with Santa Cruz Sheriff–Tony Estrada. He is 75 years old and was recently elected for his 7th term as Sheriff. That county includes Nogales Arizona and Nogales Mexico where Chris and I lived near for a month 3 years ago.
Estrada said he was the longest running Sheriff in Arizona. He seemed very knowledgeable.
Estrada is not a fan of Trump’s proposed “Big, beautiful, border wall.” In fact he thinks it is a fantasy. “The wall won’t help,” he said. Estrada said that almost all illegal immigrants come through at points of entry. Those are the legal border crossings that people use when they cross a border. Those places all have border walls already! They don’t need more walls.
Estrada also said that illegal immigrants were not the big problem, illegal drugs were the main problem. Meth in particular had in recent years become the main problem. This reminded me of Manitoba. Meth is a problem. But a wall won’t help. Those drugs also come in through points of entry, according to Estrada. The real problem is demand! In the US demand for illegal drugs is extremely high. Estrada said, the US has 5% of the world’s population and more than 50% of the world’s drugs. Americans can afford to pay and they demand that they get them. That is the problem. It is not a wall or lack of a wall that is the problem.
Sheriff Estrada said the border authorities could use money in the new proposed bill that Trump insists be signed before the government is reopened. It could be used for better technology (even though they already have the best technology!) and more boots on the ground, but spending money one a wall would be a waste. (Other border guards agree with Trump that building a wall is a good idea.)
Estrada pointed out that once in a while people cross the border with ladders as happened in Yuma, but this is rare. It is also rare that some people dig under the wall. I think he was saying if we wanted stronger borders we have to be smart. Building a ‘big, beautiful wall’ is not smart. I agree.
It’s always better to be smart.