I’m back from last week’s CIS Arizona border safari, including a visit to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the subject of a Yahoo News story yesterday. We went to a different part of the park’s border with Mexico than the group described in the article, but were similarly accompanied by two rifle-toting park rangers. (Another reason to go on the upcoming NR Cruise — no armed escort required!)
The park director’s presentation to us included slides (which I’m afraid he wouldn’t give us copies of) comparing Border Patrol activity in the park several years ago with today, showing both a decrease in apprehensions and a shift in activity to a corner of the park abutting the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation, which makes sense because the reservation is a lot easier for dope- and people-smugglers to pass through.
The fencing there and elsewhere along the Arizona border has definitely helped cut down on drive-throughs from Mexico (I’m finishing up a longer piece which I’ll link to later), but it’s worth re-emphasizing that much of the roughly 700 miles of fencing touted by the administration is just vehicle barriers and isn’t intended to stop foot traffic. Here’s a section of vehicle barrier at Organ Pipe, where Mexico’s Highway 2, which connects Baja to the rest of the country, is less than 100 yards off to the right:
This is clearly an improvement and claims that the border’s as vulnerable as it’s ever been are simply not true. But it’s even more absurd to claim that welding a few I-beams together means that we have immigration under control and can safely proceed to an amnesty.
We’re hoping to lead another border safari next winter, probably in South Texas. Be there or be square!