On the Front Lines
On Thursday, January 15, 2004, I went to a Town Hall meeting held by Rep. Jim Kolbe -R, to meet with his constituents and discuss our concerns. It was held in the Sierra Vista Town Council Chambers, and there were plenty of police on hand to protect Mr. Kolbe from his constituents.
There was so much anger in the room, I could feel the tension-the people there were ready to explode. One issue was on their minds-border control and the hordes of illegal "immigrants" that invade SE Arizona on a daily basis. Those who don't live here don't understand this battle that we are fighting, and how important private property rights are to those landowners whose sovereignty is daily disregarded by illegals entering from Mexico.
On the way in, Kolbe was careful to take an alternate entrance, so that he could avoid coming into close contact with the protesters who had come from American Border Patrol, Ranch Rescue, and Civilian Homeland Defense. Strewn all over the sidewalk was the trash that the illegals leave behind at their campsites after they have been picked up by their coyote's van or truck: clothing of every kind (including underwear), medicine, water bottles, backpacks, soiled toilet paper (but thankfully, not the items that soiled them), and other sundries that any clandestine traveler might need. The sides of the sidewalk were FILLED with this stuff. One protestor said all of it had come from ONE CAMPSITE in a wash near her house. (In fact, a group associated with some of these organizations had previously delivered a load of illegal aliens' trash to the doorstep of one of Kolbe's offices in an attempt to make their point.)
The protestors shouted, "No more amnesty!" "Control our border!" and other such things. One woman had brought a doll nailed to a cross to emphasize that lax government enforcement is crucifying our children. She says her children can't even walk to the bus stop because the illegals hiding from the Border Patrol are scaring them by being picked up at the same location.
Once inside the Council Chambers, I looked at the sea of angry faces. A majority of them were over 50 years of age, and they were angry-not about Medicare, but about border control, or as I put it, border uncontrol. The meeting wasn't as raucous as I was used to when the protestors were left-wingers, but Kolbe's remarks were punctuated by uncomfortable questions regarding WHEN the U.S. is planning to control the border, and by cries of "Hear, hear!" as one of the attendees said something the others liked. This was primarily an older group, and pretty well mannered, considering the hostility they felt toward Kolbe.
Kolbe explained the advantages of the guest worker program by claiming that what we were doing wasn't working, so why not try something else? Yep, might as well re-arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic while it's sinking-it might give the ship some ballast! Repeatedly, those in attendance called for more enforcement, and the use of already existing technology to capture the illegals. Glenn Spencer, of American Border Patrol, said the technology to apprehend them already exists in many forms. We have FLIR, night vision, ground sensors, and unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAV's), to do the job. While Kolbe was speaking, Spencer got a call on his cell phone. "We just got a group of 20 illegals coming through!" he said. Kolbe admonished him not to interrupt.
Several in the group questioned whether or not Kolbe was really trying to help control the border, since they had been asking him to do something for 10 years about the problem. All of his opposition was well spoken and had done their homework regarding the economic consequences of illegal immigration, the failure of guest worker programs in Europe, and the uncaring management of the INS that returns illegals to our society. Several gentlemen were retired Border Patrol and INS officers who spoke about problems with the system. Many attendees called for the U.S. military to patrol the border, and Kolbe replied that they are already there, doing "maneuvers" which he claimed is a deterrent. Kolbe specifically mentioned National Guard and Reserve, none of which I have ever seen in this area.
Many attendees complained that Kolbe lives in an alternate universe, and he has no understanding or comprehension of the problems at the border. He claims, for example, that 60% of all illegal aliens in the U.S. didn't come across the Mexican border, but are simply people who overstayed their visas. While surveys have shown 70-90% of Americans are opposed to illegal immigration and amnesty, Kolbe claims that the United States will continue to NEED immigrants in future years because so many baby boomers are retiring. I wonder, will the immigrants of the guest worker program take over the jobs baby boomers are retiring from? Do you think any of our guest workers will come from industrialized nations and understand technology, so that they can do those kinds of jobs? Meanwhile, I have a statistic for Rep. Kolbe: 50% of all illegal border crossers come through Cochise County, where I live. What is the government going to DO about it?
I think it's fairly clear that the government wants to make merely a show of controlling illegals, but not really a sincere effort. Employers want cheap labor, and illegals and "guest workers" will provide it. Never mind that your local American dental hygienist is afraid her job will be taken over by a Pakistani, or that the IRS is sending some of its forms to Pakistan for processing! We are told that Globalization is the new trend, and we must accept it. I sometimes wonder what would happen if the Libertarian Party idea of open borders were implemented. I think 90% of Mexico would come here, and then who would the upper class of Mexico use to perform their domestic duties? Perhaps poor Americans whose wages have fallen so low due to "globalization" that they have been reduced to working for Third World wages.
Copyright Laine Lawless 2004