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The Border Is Here (Newsletter - Winter 2005 / 2006)

The Border Is Here (Newsletter - Winter 2002 / 2003)

The Border Is Here (Newsletter - Spring 2002)

The Border Is Here (Newsletter - Fall 2001)

The Border Is Here (Newsletter - Spring 2001)

Three More Rangers for Coronado Memorial

A Letter To The N.Y. Times

The Border Is Here (Newsletter - Winter 2000/2001)

Recent (3/13/01) news articles in local papers

Palominas border monuments (photos)

Link: Mexico Resources  - Mexico related news, books & regional resources.

These pages will attempt to keep up to date with the ever changing events along our local border, and issues raised by local residents.  For the information of all residents, it will also post reported incidents, suspected or confirmed UDA crimes and any reliable information garnered from the U.S. Border Patrol officers or other law enforcement agencies.
Input from residents throughout Palominas is encouraged so that this page can be a reliable source of information to all.

Life Along The Border

 - click on image to view larger rendition - 

Sign along Hwy92
voicing the concern
of community folks.
The unending job of
Border Patrol and
Law Enforcement to
help stem the tide.
Not an uncommon
sight! Tons of trash
left by illegal aliens
on private property.
A group of undocumented aliens being detained by the Border Patrol on Hereford Road, just north of Hwy92.  Once interviewed, they will be transported back to a border station probably to be returned to Mexico.


Three more park rangers budgeted for Coronado
By Bill Hess. Sierra Vista Herald

PALOMINAS — The Coronado National Memorial will soon have three more law enforcement rangers to combat drug and illegal immigrant smuggling in the area as a pathway north into the United States from Mexico.

The National Park Service also is reviewing a request from the U.S. Border Patrol to put up an 80-foot-high surveillance tower to monitor the border area, according to Jim Bellamy, the memorial’s superintendent. The memorial is part of the National Park Service system.

The more than 4,700 acres of the memorial continue to be an area used by drug and people smugglers, he said. “There has been a 300 percent increase in the number of illegal immigrants (apprehended in the memorial) in each of the past two years,” Bellamy said.

Although there seems to be a “leveling off” of drug and people smuggling, “it’s still real hard to get a handle on the problem,” Bellamy said.

Memorial law enforcement rangers also have seen an increase in the amount of marijuana coming through the area, confiscating more than 5,000 pounds last year, he said. Of the previous authorization for two law enforcement rangers at the memorial, only one position is filled because the other person went to another assignment, Bellamy said. He added he hopes to have the vacant position and the three new ones filled within the next couple of months.

Some of the funding for the new rangers comes from the U.S. government’s anti-terrorism program, which was established because of threats to federal law enforcement people, especially by drug smugglers, he said.

While there has not been any problems between tourists and people involved with illegal activities on the memorial, some hikers have said they don’t go into areas they would like to “because they don’t want to run into smugglers,” Bellamy said.

During the year 2000, nearly 90,000 people visited the memorial. Another problem facing the National Park Service area along the border is the continued trashing of the environment by illegal immigrants.

This year’s $728,000 budget for the memorial does not include enough funds to pay for cleanup, so the National Park Service depends on volunteers to pick up trash left by illegal immigrants, the superintendent said. The memorial did get $53,500 in special funding for border-related expenses. Law enforcement rangers also must watch to ensure the memorial’s natural resources are not impacted by anyone — legal visitors or illegal immigrants.

The rangers have full arrest authority on the memorial, and when it comes to illegal immigrants, they are held for the Border Patrol, which is an agency Bellamy said he and his staff have a good working relation with.

As for the Border Patrol’s request to put a video-camera surveillance tower on memorial land, Bellamy said, “I have mixed feelings.”

The tower would be “a visual problem for visitors,” he said. On the other hand, because of the damage to the land and the need to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs, such a tower is needed. “It’s a balancing act,” he said. A site being looked at for the tower is the old Montezuma Ranch, which is now part of the memorial, the superintendent said.

The Border Patrol has indicated it would like to put up seven more towers to control the border in Cochise County. There are already a number of surveillance towers along the Douglas-Naco corridor on the American side of the border. The Border Patrol also has approached the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to put a tower up on the San Pedro National Conservation Riparian Area.

Bellamy said it would be some time before any tower would go up on the memorial because the proposal has to go through an environmental assessment.

In the mean time, this year’s budget providing for the additional law enforcement rangers will help control illegal activities, the superintendent said.

Of this fiscal year’s $728,000 budget, $117,046 is for resource preservation and management, $121,260 for facility operations and maintenance, $166,576 for administration, $323,118 for visitor services to include interpretation and education, law enforcement, emergency medical services and search and rescue.

Additional special funding includes the $53,500 for border-related law enforcement operations, $9,000 for a volunteer trailer site, $1,500 for volunteer uniforms and supplies, $1,400 to replace a wayside exhibit, $16,667 for picnic area improvements and $16,667 for cave trail improvements.

(with permission from Ron Pamachena, editor)
Published quarterly by Sycamore Research Services,
11606 South Hutchinson Road, Hereford, AZ 85615

From the newsletter for Winter 2001:
Bush to be in up North, Fox is in down South, now what?
"This November 7, voters in the United States got to choose among several people for president, among them Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader, and especially Al Gore and George W. Bush.  Gore was credited with more popular votes than the others, but did not get a majority.  Bush became president on January 20, since elections in the U.S. are by states, and not by the whole country as Mexico.  He was not credited with more electoral votes than Gore until December 12.  The details were much written about in newspapers and magazines, and on the Internet, between Nov. 7 and Dec. 12.  It is not the purpose of this newsletter to go into the details, which made the election the most controversial in the U.S. since 1876-77.

On Dec. 1, the 24th day of the American controversy, an event took place which was more important for Mexico than the 1876 election was for the U.S., and maybe more important than the 2000 election was for the U.S. (as things turned out).  Vicente Fox Quesada became the first opposition person ever to become president of Mexico, without having to overthrow the government in power first.  Alvaro Obregon and Francisco Madero were the last two opposition figures to lead Mexico, at the beginning and end of the Mexican Revolution.  Both had to overthrow the people already in charge first.  Diaz in 1877 overthrew the people there, before getting 'elected' every 4 years, to keep ruling Mexico for 33 years.  Even Benito Juarez, Mexico's biggest national hero besides Miguel Hidalgo, did not become the elected president of Mexico until he overthrew the people already in power, in 1858 after a 3-year civil war.  The inauguration of Fox was reported little in newspapers and magazines, and on the Internet, outside Mexico.

Fox will have an impact on Mexico and the border during his 6 years in office, but there are so many problems there and here that not everything can be solved, now or by the end of his term.  That was clearly shown when a Border Patrol van went northward by here, just over an hour after Fox took office on the morning of Dec. 1.  Fox has already done some things that may help along the border, but not for at least the next few months.  The first article will be on Fox, and how the border may be now that he is president of Mexico, and Bush will be president of the United States starting January 20.  Such is the purpose of this newsletter.

After 71 years of the PRI, Fox and the PAN run Mexico now.

It was about 11:15 in the morning of Friday, December 1, Vicente Fox had just finished his first speech as president, to a joint session of Mexico's Congress of the Union.  The first vehicle of the day went by my place, headed north.  It was a Border Patrol van.

More illegal crossers had been picked up, maybe where Rough Rider Rd meets the border about 1 1/4 miles from me.  I did not see how many there were, but I knew a large number had been caught.  The Border Patrol does its routine checks of the area in Ford Explorers.  It only sends vans here, when more that 3 or 4 crossers have been stopped, too many for an Explorer to hold.  Fox is the first person not from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to run Mexico since 1929, when it was founded by the survivors of the Mexican Revolution.  He and those from the National Action Party (PAN) now in the executive have much to do to fix the economy in their 6 years in charge, so Mexicans can stay home and work rather than make the long journey to the border.  Here, they hope to make a lot of money for a few months, and hope not to share much with coyotes and bandits, as they go both north and south.

Vicente Fox Quesada is the grandson of an Irishman and his wife from Spain who came to Mexico in 1913.  In their initial 2 years near Leon, about 250 miles northwest of Mexico City, they survived both Alvaro Obregon and Pancho Villa, who fought the biggest battles of the Mexican Revolution around them.  By 1941, the ranch with its cattle, chickens, and ostriches had become successful enough so that Fox's mother could afford to go to Mexico City and give birth to him there.  Fox is very tall - about 6 feet, 6 1/4 inches in height.

After graduating from the Jesuit Inter-American Autonomous University in Mexico City, Fox got an M.B.A. at Harvard near Boston in 1965.  He was president of Coca-Cola de Mexico from 1975 to 1979.  In 1991, he represented his area in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Mexico's Congress.  In 1994, he became governor of Leon's state of Guanajuato,  after the winner of the first election there was thrown out because the election was too fraudulent even for the PRI.

Already, Fox has visited the border crossings at Nogales, and at Tijuana and Reynosa.  Tijuana is in Baja California across from San Diego, and Reynosa is in Tamaulipas, across the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo in Mexico) from McAllen, Texas.  One of the problems crossers have faced when they go back after working north of the border is that Mexican customs officials may do anything possible to help themselves to part of the money the crossers made on the other side.  Officially, this practice was supposed to end in 1988 with the "paisano" program.  In 1990, border stations put in the fiscal signal, so only 1 out of every 10 non-suspicious crossers were checked closely.  The fiscal signal is set to work at random.  The benefit to me as an American tourist was that my suitcases were not opened at the border in my trip in late 1990.

Still, tourists and returnees faced being hustled if they were unlucky enough to have the fiscal signal be red for them, or if they had anything to declare, either at the border or an interior customs checkpoint.  The hustling has been particularly bad around Christmas, when many persons, both legally and illegally in the United States, return to Mexico.  In Nogales on Dec. 7, Fox asked both persons working at the border and returnees if there were any problems.  If returnees are no longer hustled at the border, they may feel good enough to believe the government's statements about how things will be better at home, to want to stay there.  On the other hand, they may see improved border checking in Mexico as one less obstacle, if they are still deciding whether to go back north in spring.  We will know in a few months, maybe as soon as March or even February, which is the case.

Often, the biggest losers in Mexican elections have taken refuge in the United States, and brought a lot of money with them.  Formerly, these were usually from the PAN or other opponents of the PRI.  Fox has said that nobody under the level of cabinet undersecretary will be removed from government posts.   However, the policy of previous administrations has been to run out possible political opponents, even within the ruling party, as soon as they are able even if it takes several months. On Dec. 28, a day before it adjourned, the Chamber of Deputies voted to make 6 billion pesos (about $670 million) available as one-time payments to "retirees".  If Fox and others in PAN feel like taking revenge for what the PRI did to them in the past, this is a lot of money for the PRI leaders to have with them, wherever they end up going.

Since Bush from a more conservative party became president of the United States instead of Gore, and the PRI is more liberal than the PAN in Mexico, most of the political exiles from Mexico will associate with the Democrats, who will soon be out of control of the executive branch of the U.S. for at least 4 years, and out of control of Congress for at least 2.  Many will get to know the local leaders of Mexican and other Spanish-speaking neighborhoods in the U.S., most of which are Democratic.  Mexican exiles will now make their money, and their expertise, available to help Democrats get control over Republicans as soon as possible again.  The last elections in both demonstrated that politics in the U.S. and Mexico have become more like each other in the last few years.  It should be even easier for Mexican exiles to associate with Democrats now than Republicans before, if that is what they as individuals choose to do.

Fox advocates freer, almost open border crossing, as many local politicians in the United States now do.  As the just-resigned governor of Texas, George W. Bush may have some of the same ideas.  Fox did not win by a landslide in Mexico, and Bush definitely did not in the U.S.  Bush is a rancher, as well as Fox.  This will make for a lot of chitchat, as it probably did when they first met in October.  They may both say things, but in reality, there is little they will be able to do.  Fox did not survive PRI rule by taking it on all the time personally.  Politics will prevent Bush from getting much done along the border on the American side.  The only hope for the border is that the general philosophies of Fox and Bush will be good influences for those who get to decide what to do along the border for years to come."

Tax cut could lead to reduced funding for border, environment
The Sierra Vista Herald

Diane Saunders

COCHISE COUNTY — After walking the halls of Washington, D.C., county leaders are comfortable that Fort Huachuca will likely survive the next round of base closures.

But they aren’t sure how much money will be left over for border needs and work in safeguarding the San Pedro River if President Bush’s federal tax cut is approved. New funding for the Justice and Agriculture Departments could be a lot scarcer if the massive tax package becomes law.

County Supervisors Pat Call and Paul Newman talked about those issues and others after their return from a meeting of the National Association of Counties in our nation’s capitol. Call, who represents District 1; Newman, who represents District 2; and District 3 Supervisor Les Thompson spent several days in Washington, D.C., attending the annual conference and meeting with Arizona’s congressional delegation.

Thompson could not be reached for comment. Call said each of the supervisors attended different sessions. “I focused on Growing Smarter issues and land use issues,” he said. “There are a lot of tools out there we can use and a lot of help out there.”

He added the sessions he attended tied in with Gov. Jane Hull’s Growing Smarter Oversight Council. Call was recently appointed to the council.

Call said he had an “eye-opening meeting” with Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jon Kyl. He came away from the meeting knowing that the senators understand the border issues and are committed to helping Cochise County.

He said he hopes that because President George W. Bush is from a border state, there will be more help for border areas including Cochise County.

Call said the meeting then turned to Fort Huachuca. “We all feel Fort Huachuca is in a good position to survive more BRACs (Base Realignment and Closure),” Call said.

Newman met with staff members of several Democrats, including Sen. Brian Dorgan of North Dakota and Rep. Ed Pastor of Arizona. “He knows a lot about the needs of counties,” Newman said of Pastor.

Newman said he lobbied for Senate Bill 169, the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program that would help the counties pay for border needs and services.

Currently, Cochise County pays about $5 million a year for court and jail expenses related to illegal immigrants. The amount the county spends has been increasing each year, according to Cochise County records.

“We’ve done it for years, we’ve done it for decades,” Newman said. Over the years, the county has spent $60 million it could have used for county services to pay expenses of illegal immigrants. “I think it’s spent and gone forever.” He said the $200 million appropriated from the federal budget would help the border counties.

Newman said McCain and Kyl both believe the amount will be less.

Newman said the county would like to have more federal funds to help pay for protecting the San Pedro River. “There’s money for the San Pedro Partnership that we’re lobbying for,” he said. This includes $400,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The money, if appropriated, would help pay for ongoing research at the Southwest Watershed Research Center in Tucson.

“This is the key to the growth issue in our county,” Newman said.

Newman said he would like to see the free flow of people across the border within the next 10 to 20 years.

“I support opening our borders allowing workers to come across without the danger of death,” said Newman, who added that the current situation is not working. “It makes me feel like I live in a war zone.”

He said spending $5 million a year of county taxpayer money is unacceptable. The money could be used to provide better services for residents.

This could include parks, roads and medical care for county employees.

Arrests of illegal entrants on Arizona border fall sharply

Associated Press
Jan. 25, 2001 07:15:00
From The Arizona Republic

DOUGLAS - Arrests of illegal entrants have dropped all along the southwestern United States' border with Mexico, especially in Arizona and the nation's one-time leader, Douglas.

The U.S. Border Patrol said that arrests so far this month are 40 percent below those of a year ago throughout the Tucson sector, which covers all of Arizona's border except the corner near Yuma.

For the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, the Arizona arrest figures are off 23 percent compared with a year ago, and in the Douglas-Naco corridor - the top area for such arrests for months - the figures are 40 percent below last year's.

In fact, authorities say, arrests have dropped off from San Diego to El Paso to Del Rio, Texas.
"We're doing some analysis, but I think it is still premature to call this a trend," said Nicole Chulick, spokeswoman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington, D.C., told the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson.

Augmenting both the human and technological forces arrayed against people smugglers accounts for some of the reduction, immigration officials say.

Warnings about the danger of attempting to cross the Arizona and Southern California deserts are seen as another factor, along with extremely wet weather in Texas. So are harbingers of a U.S. economic slump.

But what may be the biggest factor, some say, are changes in Mexico's political and economic climate that may be encouraging optimism and a wait-and-see attitude.

Francisco Cruz Meza, who heads Mexico's task force for migrant protection, is among those who say the "Fox factor" may be underestimated.

Cruz Meza told the Star he believes Mexicans are optimistic things may improve under Vicente Fox, their first president from the opposition party in 71 years, and that Mexico's relationship with the United States will warm as well.

"There are high hopes in the new administration, and in the upcoming meeting between our two presidents next month," Cruz Meza said. "One of the themes will certainly be immigration and people are very hopeful of a new direction."

Perhaps indicative of such changing direction is a recent developing move by some Texas congressmen toward a new worker entry policy, something some Arizonans have recommended for some time.

Leopoldo Santos Ramirez, a teacher and researcher on U.S.-Mexico relations at Hermosillo's Colegio de Sonora, said it's too early to know whether the apparent change is real "but there are high expectations."

One student of the situation, Demetrios Papademetriou, believes the best explanation may be that far fewer people returned to Mexico for the holidays, so there were far fewer now to return to the United States.

Papademetriou, co-director for international migration policy at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington, D.C., think tank, also believes optimism in new presidents is a big factor.

"I really think there is some hope that these two guys, Fox and (U.S. President) Bush, are going to change some things," Papademetriou said. "Simply talking about a change in the status quo can have its own reward."

Douglas Mayor Ray Borane, one of those who has urged re-establishing some form of a bracero program, said the apparent success in reducing illegal entry is only a shell game.

Beefing up forces at one point merely pushes the illegal immigration problem from one part of the border to another, he said.

Borane noted that the heavy traffic shifted from El Paso and Tijuana to Douglas, then from Douglas to Naco and Sasabe. He also said he isn't convinced the five-year migrant flow actually is slowing at Douglas.


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