Badlands: For Those Living in the Arizona County That's Ground Zero for Drug and Human Trafficking Along the Border, the Illegal Immigration Crisis Is Personal

On April 27, Janet Napolitano pronounced that the border separating the United States from the Republic of Mexico is more secure than ever.

"I say this again as someone who has walked that border," the former Arizona governor told a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, which she now heads.

"I've ridden that border. I've flown it. I've driven it. I know that border, I think, as well as anyone, and I will tell you it is as secure now as it has ever been."

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever at the fence near Naco: "There are good people coming over here looking for jobs, I understand that. But bad guys are coming in and will continue to come in."
Paul Rubin
Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever at the fence near Naco: "There are good people coming over here looking for jobs, I understand that. But bad guys are coming in and will continue to come in."
Janet Napolitano: "The border is as secure as it's ever been."
Janet Napolitano: "The border is as secure as it's ever been."
This ominous government sign is on federal U.S. Forest Service land in the Coronado National Forest, near the sprawling Krentz Ranch north of Douglas.
Paul Rubin
This ominous government sign is on federal U.S. Forest Service land in the Coronado National Forest, near the sprawling Krentz Ranch north of Douglas.
Eriberto Marquez and Martin Chavira-Morquecho carried out a home invasion of an elderly couple's residence earlier this year that nearly ended tragically. They are now serving time at the Arizona State Prison.
Eriberto Marquez and Martin Chavira-Morquecho carried out a home invasion of an elderly couple's residence earlier this year that nearly ended tragically. They are now serving time at the Arizona State Prison.
Martin Chavira-Morquecho
Martin Chavira-Morquecho
Cochise County sheriff's deputy Joe Gilbert says about the undocumented: "It takes courage tromping through this desert for days knowing you can die at any point in the heat or cold or at the hands of a coyote."
Paul Rubin
Cochise County sheriff's deputy Joe Gilbert says about the undocumented: "It takes courage tromping through this desert for days knowing you can die at any point in the heat or cold or at the hands of a coyote."
Border Patrol agents arrest illegal immigrants from southern Mexico just inside the United States in Cochise County and less than 200 yards from the border fence.
Paul Rubin
Border Patrol agents arrest illegal immigrants from southern Mexico just inside the United States in Cochise County and less than 200 yards from the border fence.
The fence ends for a stretch just east of the San Pedro River in Hereford, which affords the undocumented another easy access point to the States.
Paul Rubin
The fence ends for a stretch just east of the San Pedro River in Hereford, which affords the undocumented another easy access point to the States.
Rich Winkler, a former Cochise County Superior Court judge, at his ranch home in Rodeo, New Mexico, just across the Arizona border: "This is my home, goddamn it, and I shouldn't have to put up with this."
Paul Rubin
Rich Winkler, a former Cochise County Superior Court judge, at his ranch home in Rodeo, New Mexico, just across the Arizona border: "This is my home, goddamn it, and I shouldn't have to put up with this."
Cochise County rancher, cowboy poet, and retired Army brigadier general Bud Strom: "Now, at least, it suddenly has become advantageous for many politicos to play tough guy."
Paul Rubin
Cochise County rancher, cowboy poet, and retired Army brigadier general Bud Strom: "Now, at least, it suddenly has become advantageous for many politicos to play tough guy."
Coming back into the States from Agua Prieta, Sonora, at the port of entry in Douglas.
Coming back into the States from Agua Prieta, Sonora, at the port of entry in Douglas.

Napolitano sounded convinced, even though she also has spoken of Mexico's 6,000 drug-related murders in 2009 alone, more than twice the total in 2008.

In the United States, she claimed, "limited increases" in immigrant-related crime "have come mainly in the form of cartel operatives hurting or killing each other, the kidnappings of those involved in the drug trade or their family members, and assaults on Border Patrol agents by those attempting to bring illegal drugs into the country."

But Napolitano's words rang hollow to those who live at or near the border in Cochise County, a beautiful, sparsely populated expanse in southeast Arizona.

They live at ground zero in the United States for the smuggling from Mexico of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin — and human beings.

(The U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson sector was responsible for almost half of all illegal aliens arrested and marijuana seized along the nation's borders during fiscal 2009, which ended September 30. Try to imagine 1.2 million pounds of pot, an all-time record for any sector. The zone includes Cochise County and covers 262 miles of border).

Most people in this fabled county — home to Tombstone (the shootout at the OK Corral), Fort Huachuaca (a major U.S. Army base), funky border towns (Douglas and Naco), and almost unimaginably open spaces — agree on this:

The executive and legislative branches of the federal government have set up Cochise County for disaster by not coming up with a border policy to effectively handle what's known as "illegal immigration."

In the early 1990s, the feds tightened the leaky border around San Diego and El Paso with mega-operations called Operation Gatekeeper and Operation Hold the Line, respectively.

The result was a monumental funneling of hundreds of thousands of undocumented aliens from the steep mountains and unforgiving deserts of northern Mexico into southern Arizona.

Before then, Cochise County was not a prime point of entry for illegal aliens (the Tucson sector accounted for only 9 percent of the U.S. Border Patrol's arrests in 1993).

Then, as now, drug smugglers pretty much had free rein, with law enforcement seemingly always a step behind most of the criminals.

With the redirection of the migrants came dire ramifications, including death for untold hapless migrants ill-equipped to negotiate the desert and mountain trails in brutal summers and cold winters.

The influx also has upended the lives of many on this side of the border, especially American citizens who live anywhere in the southern portion of Cochise County.

The vast majority of the incoming illegal aliens have no criminal designs, and they aren't drug smugglers. To the contrary, their collective goal is to remain as invisible as possible and to hightail it out of Cochise County on their way to America's urban centers, including Phoenix.

Some of them simply are hungry and desperate. But others are of a more malevolent bent, committing robberies, burglaries, and other crimes against Americans in remote spots like Portal, Apache, and Palominas.

Until recently, those at the border, especially cattle ranchers whose properties often abut the Mexico line, sensed they were shouting futilely into the wind about their troubles — the degradation of their land, the incessant rip-offs of their property, the growing fear for their personal safety.

But the landscape changed exactly one month before Napolitano lectured the senators about border security.

On March 27, a well-liked 58-year-old cattle rancher named Rob Krentz was murdered on his family's ranch about 25 miles east of Douglas and several miles north of the border.

Though authorities still haven't officially linked the homicide to an illegal alien, they've done everything but.

"Rob was working, literally out in the middle of nowhere, with his dog," veteran Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever told New Times soon after the murder.

"He might have been around some cattle, a snake or two, some birds. That's it. But his ranch is right smack in dope-smuggling country. It wouldn't have been unheard of for him to have just bumped into a bad guy out there, one who happened to be carrying a gun."

The unsolved case soon became a tipping point for many in Arizona and nationwide, intensifying the debate on illegal immigration.

"You know that phrase we all learned in school, 'Remember the Alamo'?" a rancher tells New Times. "For a lot of us, it's going to be 'Remember Rob Krentz' from now on."

The Krentz murder happened just as the debate over the wildly divisive Arizona Senate Bill 1070 was reaching fever pitch.

The controversial legislation, which became law with Governor Jan Brewer's signature on April 24, makes the failure to carry proof of legal U.S. residency a crime and gives local law enforcement wider latitude to detain those "reasonably suspected" of being here illegally. The law is scheduled to go into effect July 29 but has been challenged in lawsuits that may affect implementation.

Even before Krentz's murder, the Arizona political season already was becoming contentious, with immigration the top hot-button issue.

It's much uglier now.

Arizona politicians are trying to outdo each other with snarling anti-immigration sound bites — "Seal the border!" "Complete the danged fence!" "Ship 'em all home!" — everything short of endorsing the killing of would-be illegal aliens on sight.

To hear politicians and their kindred spirits on local and national radio talk shows, the U.S. government ought to be able to root out all the undocumented like rats on an ocean liner.

As if the 1,969-mile southern border really ever could be "sealed" from every last illegal alien and drug smuggler.

And that doesn't count the illegal aliens (the Pew Hispanic Center estimates about 5 million — about half of the estimated undocumented population) who entered the United States legally and simply overstayed their visas.

Ignacio "Nacho" Ibarra, a veteran journalist who has lived much of his life in Cochise County, says, "You have two versions of the American Dream butting right up against each other down here. One is, 'I'm gonna find my fortune and do whatever it takes.' The other is, 'My family and I built this ranch, and this is ours to do what we want with.'"

Ibarra's allusion to the natural clash between Mexican immigrants, in the first instance, and American citizens along the border, in the second, is keen.

But don't look to most Arizona pols for thoughtful dialogue on why so many Mexicans and others hunger to get to the United States, or how businesses will be able to find enough cheap labor to do menial (but essential) jobs, if and when the economy gets back on track.

All they want to talk about is that the tide of illegal immigration must be stemmed — now! — and that it is the federal government's duty to do it.

And, in a sense, they're right — because the feds have hung those living on Arizona's southern border out to dry with decades of ineffectual policies.

"I understand fully why illegal aliens break the rules," says T.J. Bonner, president of the San Diego-based National Border Patrol Council, a union that represents more than 12,000 agents. "As long as there's an opportunity for them to come across the border illegally, and it's not too high a price to pay in terms of money or danger, they're going to do it. And even if it is highly dangerous — look at the hundreds of people who die every year — they try. People continue to cross, literally, by the millions. It speaks to their level of desperation, and that's something the U.S. government and a lot of the talking heads have never comprehended."

The growing schism over illegal immigration probably would come as no surprise to the Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, 93-year-old president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame.

A liberal who earned praise for his work during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Hesburgh headed an immigration-reform commission convened by President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s.

The panel recommended that the federal government take serious action to secure the border before embracing reforms that would allow more alien workers to enter the States legally and become citizens.

To Hesburgh, it wasn't just that it was wrong to open our borders willy-nilly to whoever happened along.

"What's going to happen if we don't act [to secure the border]," he warned in 1981, "is that a psychology will develop that says, 'Don't let anyone in.' Or, have the military round up those here illegally and push them across the border . . . The nation needn't wait until we are faced with a choice between immigration chaos and closing the borders."

This is where Arizona is now.

One side uses broad strokes to depict illegal aliens as raping, pillaging, job-stealing, disease-carrying bogeymen responsible for our nation's immigration woes. Anyone opposed to any part of this view is usually dubbed a "leftist" member of the "open-borders crowd."

The other side, in the minority in Arizona, seeks "amnesty" and citizenship for the bulk undocumented migrants now in this country. Those opposed to this view are generally tarred as "racists" or "nativists."

But most people on the border in Cochise County grow weary of the debate.

They agree and disagree with both sides.

To them, the immigration problem is a nagging part of everyday life — and they are profoundly frustrated with the U.S. government's continued inability to improve their situation.

For some residents, it's about an unrelenting fear of who may be tucked away in the arroyos on their land or who may be breaking into their homes.

The fear didn't start with Rob Krentz's murder — though the tragedy exacerbated the sense of doom that many ranchers and other border residents were feeling, discussing, and praying about for years.

"I'm always looking, and I always carry a rifle," says Rich Winkler, a cattle rancher who lives with his wife, Mary, at the base of the forbidding Peloncillo Mountains on the Arizona/New Mexico line, about 20 miles north of the Mexico border.

"There could be someone in the barn or behind a rock. You can't get sloppy with it. That's when they'll get you."

Winkler, a former Cochise County Superior Court judge and (a long time ago) a star running back at Yale University, isn't overstating the case.

Well-worn drug- and people-smuggling paths zigzag like worker-ant trails across their spread, which sits between major Border Patrol stations in Douglas and Lordsburg, New Mexico.

Seldom does a week pass without the Winklers coming upon illegal aliens on their ranch, occasionally carrying loads of marijuana in backpacks.

Rich compares their situation to a scene in the movie No Country for Old Men, in which dire consequences await the poor souls who cross paths with drug smugglers.

"When a rancher happens onto a load of dope on his property, he'll usually just leave it alone," Winkler says.

"There are [drug] scouts watching us, seeing where we are and what we're doing, and we don't want them to think we're an issue. The brazenness is what gets me. The illegals trample our land, leave their garbage behind, smuggle their poison in, and change the way we live our lives."

The Winklers' home has been broken into twice (in one day, actually), and their cabin in another part of their expansive ranch has been burglarized so many times they've lost count. They now leave the remote cabin unlocked and empty to keep property losses at a minimum.

"They broke out a bedroom window and burgled our house around noon — we weren't there," Winkler recalls of the two late-2008 break-ins of his main residence.

"They took a lot, including 20 pounds of shrimp from the freezer. At night, after I got back home I was in my jammies in my bedroom and noticed a light on that shouldn't have been. I grabbed a pistol and slowly stepped out. There were people inside my house! Maybe they were coming back for the cocktail sauce; I don't know. I was very scared. Luckily, they ran out. This is my home, goddamn it! I shouldn't have to put up with this."

Mary Winkler seems somewhat less cautious than her husband of 47 years. Raised in the border town of Douglas, she says she's dealing with the "invasion," as she calls it, the same way as she did with a recent, very difficult bout with cancer.

"I was not going to let [the disease] interrupt my lifestyle, if at all possible," she says, "and I'm not going to let the illegals do it either."

If Mary bumps into a group of illegal aliens on her property while on horseback — a not-uncommon occurrence — she smiles, turns around, and heads the other way.

Rich Winkler says, to his knowledge, authorities have never arrested anyone for any of the crimes committed on his property.

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever has just learned of Janet Napolitano's take on the state of border safety.

"More secure than ever, huh?" the sheriff mocks, leaning against his pickup truck at the heralded fence along the border east of Naco and surveying the open expanse.

"Why doesn't she try to tell that to the ranchers and other citizens near the border who live in a state of constant alert, or fear?

"Why doesn't she let the bad guys know how safe it is while she's at it? They'll appreciate the info. You know, those guys who smuggle in vast amounts of dope and people through our county and might just terrorize or hurt people who get in their way? They'll like hearing that things are 'secure.'"

The sheriff ends his riff with, "Why doesn't Janet just tell Rob Krentz's family how safe it is while she's at it?"

Dever, a native of St. David, near Interstate 10 and Benson, is a savvy guy who quotes poet e.e. cummings off the top of his head, despite occasional attempts to cast himself as a dumb country boy to out-of-towners.

One week before Janet Napolitano spoke to the senators on Capitol Hill, Sheriff Dever made his own nearly annual 2,000-mile trek to Washington, D.C.

Since shortly after first winning election in 1996, the sheriff has been saying the same thing to whomever will allow him a forum.

"Violence associated with drug and people smuggling is increasing," he told a Senate committee on the morning of April 20.

"It comes in many forms. People attempting to enter this country illegally are regularly subjected to robbery, assault, rape, kidnapping, and all other kinds of atrocities. Much of this occurs before they ever cross the border. Competing organizations rob, steal, and murder, also on both sides of the border.

"Sheriffs on the border have no interest in becoming immigration-enforcement agents. But we cannot sit by while our citizens are terrorized, robbed, and murdered by ruthless and desperate people who enter our country illegally. Herein lies the real daily threat to the security of our homeland."

Dever ended his remarks by using an old trick of his, quoting a chief of the Border Patrol's Tucson sector: "'Within the last year, we've been mandated by Congress to gain control of the border. And we're going to do that along the southern border, whether it's narcotics, illegal aliens, terrorists, criminals, or whatever.'"

The sheriff's kicker: The former Border Patrol chief said that in 1987.

Though the sheriff, like the majority of his constituency, is a staunch conservative, he's not a knee-jerk politician in the mold of his publicity-seeking peers from Maricopa and Pinal Counties, sheriffs Joe Arpaio and Paul Babeu, respectively.

The father of six grown sons (three of whom are in law enforcement), Dever's life experience affords him a more nuanced perspective than the stereotype of a rural Arizona sheriff might suggest.

The sheriff's two-year mission for his church led him as a young man to Central America, where he saw firsthand what poverty does to a person — to a family — and he understands the impulse that would push someone to make a death-defying journey into his county's big backyard.

Though he's a cop through and through, and hates what illegal immigration has meant to his financially strapped county, Dever also expresses a quiet compassion for aliens who seemingly don't pose a threat to anyone but themselves.

"I had been down in Naco," he relates, "and I was driving home [to St. David]. I passed the junction of Highways 80 and 90 and saw this girl, pregnant — like 10 months — off on the side of the road.

"Border Patrol had a checkpoint going this side of Tombstone. I got in an argument with myself as I drove on, and then decided to turn around and see what was up. She was an illegal, obviously, and she couldn't keep up with her group, so [the coyote] dumped her off.

"I seriously thought about taking her home, but that would have created some issues. She was actually going into labor. She was very thirsty. She probably would have crawled off into the bush, given birth to her child, and died right there. I dropped her off at the checkpoint. That's the last I know."

This is just one illustration of what people will do to get to the United States, the nation of choice for millions — not just Mexicans. People who will risk their lives, and even the lives of their children, trying to get here.

Many of these immigrants (a perfect example are "Nacho" Ibarra's Mexican-born parents, who illegally walked across the nearly dry Rio Grande in Texas in 1948 and became productive members of American society) appreciate this country's liberties more than average Americans, because they don't take them for granted.

Hereford cattle rancher Bud Strom answers immediately when asked whether he would try to cross into the United States if he were a poor Latino from south of the border.

"In a heartbeat!" he bellows, adding that this doesn't mean the borders shouldn't be more secure.

The cowboy poet and retired Army brigadier general has had to contend over the past decade with thousands of illegal aliens tromping through his Single Star Ranch, cutting his water lines and fences and leaving waste (human and otherwise) behind.

Sitting on a front porch at his ranch, one of his many rescue dogs resting at his feet, the grizzled 78-year-old recites a poem of his called Doing Business Just the Same:

"Border Patrol came through

Broke my gate down, too

As they cut my water lines

They said they'd fix it soon

By tomorrow noon

These delays take, too, much time.

My response? No thanks

Can't have empty tanks

But it sets me down to think

How I'll fix it now

For my thirsty cows

My critters need to drink

But we're doing business just the same.

Illegals cut my fence

Makes no sense

Cuz there's gates they could go through

Of course my cows are hopin'

That they find them open

To parade Route 92."

State Route 92 is the thoroughfare that connects Sierra Vista and Bisbee at the southern tip of Cochise County.

Strom's neighbor, 55-year-old John Ladd, runs his family's homesteaded San Jose Ranch on a 10-mile stretch of border in Palominas, east of the San Pedro River.

A garrulous guy with a droll sense of humor, Ladd takes New Times to the border in his rickety old pickup.

"To be honest," he says on the short bumpy ride, "I'm beat down right now by the day-after-day stuff — the garbage all over the place, worrying about my cows, constantly repairing fences that the sons of bitches keep cutting. Stupid. "

Ladd says he knows of 11 illegal aliens who have died on his land over the past 10 years, including one man whose body was just a few hundred yards from his home.

Like almost everyone in Cochise County, whatever their political persuasion, Ladd blames the feds — more than undocumented aliens — for the immigration crisis in his midst.

"I've counted 468 wetbacks — sorry, politically incorrect — undocumented aliens on our ranch in the last three weeks, two or three groups a day," he says.

"We used to have hundreds every day. Some would call ahead for taxis that would drive down our dirt road off Highway 92 there and wait. No BS.

"[Our ranch goes] right to the border. The feds have got their cameras set up out there, those big powerful nightlights, and the fence [that] is 13 feet high in parts. Plus Border Patrol agents supposedly driving back and forth on the frontage road.

"But if they're still getting over onto my property with all of that 'security,' then what about where it's a lot easier to get in, like over where [Rich] Winkler and the Krentzes live?"

The fence, also known as the "Great Wall of Mexico," is an almost surreal-looking structure of corrugated steel that runs on and off for almost 650 miles on the southwest border (nearly half of which is in Arizona).

At Ladd's ranch, the fence is up to 13 feet high, while over in the more-mountainous eastern part of the county, it simply consists of low-slung barriers designed to stop vehicles from crossing easily.

The feds have spent $2.5 billion since 2005 to build the fence, and they estimate it will cost taxpayers another $6.5 billion to maintain it.

Politicians, especially since the Krentz murder, have delighted in using the fence as a photo-op backdrop for their campaign commercials. In one, U.S. Senator John McCain growls for the feds to "complete the danged fence," as he and Pinal County Sheriff Babeu — whose jurisdiction is close to 100 miles from the border — stride alongside each other.

The fence has become the illegal-immigration solution du jour for any number of people, especially those who don't live near it. But many who live at or near the border aren't so enamored of it.

"If you put up a wall, you need to have someone watching it," says Bill Odle, who lives with his wife, Ellen, on 50 border acres. "And if someone is watching it, you don't need a wall."

Odle has come down to the San Pedro River to say hello to his friend John Ladd and to share some thoughts with New Times. He is a retired U.S. Marine, a Vietnam War veteran who loves his country and hates the federal government and the influx of illegal immigrants, probably in that order.

"If there's a guy wanting to work up here, and he's hungry, a damned wall isn't going to stop him," Odle says. "And that definitely goes for the people who want to do us harm, people transporting that shit that we do not need. The hell of it is, a lot of [undocumented aliens] do want to do honest work. I get that."

Odle's comment about the fence's inability to stop people from coming over sounds like what Janet Napolitano, then Arizona's governor, said in December 2005: "You show me a 50-foot wall, and I'll show you a 51-foot ladder at the border."

Despite that comment, Napolitano and her boss, President Barack Obama, are none too popular these days with many in Cochise County.

"I am not one of those who says we ought to shoot every son of a bitch who comes over here. That's not what we stand for as a country," Odle says. "But, God Almighty, we have to do something! I'm not so sure that Janet and Barack really agree with me on that."

"Welcome to the free state of Cochise, drug-smuggling capital of Arizona. Welcome to southeast Arizona's wild outlands.

"Everyone in this border county knows the war on drugs is a dismal failure. And no one quite knows what to do about it."

New Times published this in the story "Smuggler's Paradise" on June 28, 1989.

Larry Dever, then a major serving under Sheriff Jimmy Judd, said at the time, "They're always going to bring it across. We are a major-league transfer zone. Lots of money and dope exchange hands on a wholesale basis."

Things are a quantum leap worse now, four U.S. presidents and six Arizona governors later.

Despite a steady surge in law enforcement presence in Cochise County — there are agencies on the scene with more acronyms than in a military handbook — these desert badlands continue to be a hotbed of dope- and people-smuggling.

Recent Border Patrol numbers and anecdotal accounts suggest strongly that Cochise County now is seeing more dope-smuggling (pot, cocaine, meth, and heroin) than human-smuggling.

Even with the addition since 2007 of about 10,000 Border Patrol agents in the sector and miles of new fence, fewer than half of incoming illegal aliens are apprehended.

To many who live on the front lines of Arizona's badlands, the only sure thing is the staggering amount of money available to almost everyone — not just the bad guys — involved in the illegal-immigration industry.

The list of moneymakers includes a modern-day version of what U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower long ago dubbed the "military-industrial complex."

A glaring case in point is the $880 million boondoggle known as the "virtual fence," a creation of the Boeing Company that President George W. Bush said in May 2007 would be "the most technologically advanced border-security initiative in American history."

The feds pulled the plug on the project in March, with Janet Napolitano noting that the vaunted system of sensors and cameras has been "plagued with cost overruns and missed deadlines."

The Border Patrol has doubled in size since fiscal year 2005 to more than 20,000 agents in the Tucson sector alone, and politicos are demanding ever more agents on the southwest border.

The fiscal 2010 federal budget for Immigration and Customs Enforcement is $5.74 billion, a marked increase from just five years ago, when it was $3.55 billion.

That pays for a lot of new jobs, a lot of decent salaries and benefits.

Billions of dollars annually are netted by sophisticated and ruthless Mexican cartels that, according to numerous sources, are currently running almost all the illegal drugs and people into the States.

"This is the grand paradox of drug enforcement," Marcelo Bergman, a professor at Mexico City's Center for Economic Research and Education, wrote last month in the periodical Foreign Policy.

"Unless enforcement agencies can intercept virtually all of the drugs crossing the border — something that approaches impossibility — their efforts are likely to simply produce more formidable opponents."

Those who generally benefit the least financially are the huge majority of illegal immigrants, especially in Arizona's (and the nation's) current down economy.

Remarkably, the Mexican government recently issued a "travel advisory" about the dangers awaiting its migrating citizens in Arizona under the dark cloud of SB 1070.

But that government would have served its citizens better by looking within.

The human rights organization Amnesty International concluded in a late-April position paper: "Thousands of undocumented migrants in transit through Mexico, including women and children, fall victim to beatings, abduction, rape, and even murder."

The journey for migrants through Mexico, according to a researcher for the agency, "is one of the most dangerous in the world."

Those who do get across the border to try to start anew may become part of a grim statistic: American authorities recovered the bodies of 211 incoming illegal aliens in the Border Patrol's Tucson sector in 2009, according to human rights groups and other sourcing.

The causes of death run the gamut — hypothermia, dehydration, and gunshot wounds. A majority of the dead remain unidentified.

Mere hours before Napolitano tried to reassure the senators about our "secure" border, Elvira Brambila-Valejo died in the desert about 25 miles from Tucson.

She had just crossed into Arizona with her 15-year-old son and other illegal migrants, led by well-compensated human smugglers.

Border Patrol search-and-rescue agents responded to a 911 call from the boy, who told them coyotes had ordered him and his mother out of their vehicle because she was desperately ill. The agents used a GPS tracking system to locate the pair.

Brambila-Valejo, 44, was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause, according to the Office of the Pima County Medical Examiner, was peritonitis, an infection of the membrane that lines the inner abdominal wall.

Symptoms include severe, steady abdominal pain, abdominal distension, fever, chills associated with abundant perspiration, weakness, vomiting, and nausea.

Elvira Brambila-Valejo was one of five newly arrived illegal immigrants known to have died in southern Arizona that week in April. Two others died of heart attacks; the causes of death of the other two remain undetermined.

Law enforcement types at all levels keep insisting that 17 percent of the illegal aliens arrested last year in the Tucson sector had prior "serious" criminal offenses in the States.

But a scan of federal court records shows that the bulk of those arrested in the sector from March 1 to 15 of this year had no known criminal records in this country, other than previous busts for being here illegally.

That's apparently where the ubiquitous 17 percent is coming from.

The study by New Times reveals that only 19 of 400 defendants whose case files were checked had prior convictions for crimes other than having been here before illegally.

Of those 19 with prior "serious" felony convictions, one served time for manslaughter before he was deported, two were convicted of sexual assault, and the others have criminal records for burglary and narcotics.

But all those stats mean nothing to Howard and Rosemary Hunt, an elderly couple who live in the beautiful bird-watching town of Portal, in eastern Cochise County.

The Hunts were home during the late afternoon of January 20 and getting ready for dinner when someone knocked on their door.

Standing there with another man was Eriberto Marquez, a 21-year-old illegal alien born in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

Marquez spent his formative years near El Paso and has an 11th-grade U.S. education to show for it.

He speaks impeccable English.

Marquez's father was deported to Mexico after a domestic-violence conviction when the boy was 10. Marquez had worked in construction, landscaping, and as a cook in the States. Records show he, too, had been deported to Mexico after a burglary conviction.

But Marquez tells New Times in a letter that he returned to Mexico voluntarily to be with his father before sneaking back to the States with 17-year-old Martin Chavira-Morquecho, from nearby Agua Prieta.

Marquez earlier had politely asked the Hunts for a ride a few miles away, but the couple said no. The two young men then immediately forced their way in, and Chavira-Morquecho brandished a small machete at Howard to show they meant business.

The weapon nicked Howard Hunt on a thumb during the short scuffle that ensued.

The intruders demanded money and credit cards, which the Hunts said they didn't have.

The men then bound the elderly couple with duct tape in a back bedroom, and looked around the house for valuables. They left after a time, stealing the Hunts' Chevy Avalanche, about $100 in cash, some jewelry, and a debit card.

According to the Hunts, Marquez remained courteous to the end, apologizing for the "inconvenience" and asking them to jot down their address so he could reimburse them later.

The couple freed themselves after a while and contacted the Cochise County Sheriff's Office. Deputies responded and issued an all-points bulletin.

An officer with the New Mexico Motor Transportation Division spotted the stolen vehicle within an hour after it had crossed into his state, and the men were soon arrested in Lordsburg.

Eriberto Marquez's perspective comes from the Arizona State Prison in Yuma, where he is serving 12 years for kidnapping and car theft (the same term as his co-conspirator, Chavira-Morquecho):

"We had walked for five days, and we ran out of food and hadn't eaten for a couple of days. We decided to break into a home. We planned to grab food and a car and leave. I wasn't planning to hurt anyone. They were nice people. I know they won't feel safe anymore. I hope they forgive me."

It is dusk on a gorgeous spring day in Cochise County, and sheriff's Deputy Joe Gilbert is on patrol in the Bisbee area.

Gilbert is 26 and has been with the agency since June 2006. He is a strapping guy with an earnest and unthreatening manner that usually wins him points with the public, even those unhappy at getting stopped.

The deputy is one of just two currently on duty in the Bisbee district. The pair is responsible for patrolling an area about the size of Rhode Island, about 1,000 square miles.

Gilbert lives in nearby Tombstone, the town where he was raised. He says he considers police work something he was born to do and something he loves.

He drives into Naco, a border town dominated by ramshackle mobile homes and a Port of Entry on the border. Gilbert passes by a government yard protected by barbed wire. Several confiscated vehicles sit there, their seats, engines, undercarriages ripped out by agents.

"Dope cars," he explains.

Gilbert sticks some smokeless tobacco in his lower gum and gestures to the Naco Elementary School, a stone's throw from Mexico.

"That's where they dumped dope for a long time, there in the yard," he says. "The thinking was that Border Patrol couldn't enter school grounds chasing after UDAs [undocumented aliens]. The bad guys would wait awhile, and then someone would pick up the stuff and split."

The deputy drives onto the dirt road that runs parallel to the border fence for miles and miles on either side of the town. Green-and-white Border Patrol vehicles come into view every few minutes, parked on the road or patrolling in both directions.

As a brilliant Cochise County sunset fades into darkness, Gilbert spots some Border Patrol vehicles parked in the brush just off the road. They are no more than 200 feet from the fence and less than a mile from the Border Patrol station in Naco.

Several agents have surrounded a group of about 20 people standing side by side. Each, including a little boy clinging to a diminutive, dark-skinned woman, looks as blue as the darkening sky above.

Here they stand, illegal as can be, after an undoubtedly dangerous and rigorous trek from, in this instance, southern Mexico; one that has ended abruptly, just steps inside the United States.

Some grip the plastic garbage bags that hold their worldly belongings and stare blankly into space. One by one, they are directed into the rear of a packed van, from which they'll be taken to a holding tank.

Eventually, they will be deported.

The scene, repeated daily in various forms all over the Tucson Sector, triggers a series of thoughts from Deputy Gilbert.

"It takes courage tromping through this desert for days knowing you can die at any point in the heat or cold or at the hands of a coyote," he says. "It's against the law, but that doesn't stop them. Sometimes, they get deported really fast, but then I might see them again a few days later — like they never left."

In other words, they turn around and come right back over, desperate to take another run at a new life.

Gilbert shares a story as he continues to patrol: A small group of undocumented aliens were huddling in the mountains a few miles from the Bisbee sheriff's substation (where the county jail is located) when one of them desperately contacted the Sheriff's Office.

"One of their family members who was coming across was really sick with diabetes, and they were very upset," the deputy says.

"I called Border Patrol, which has a team that helps people in need — and I went out there, too. Picture someone's uncle or grandfather. He had on a suit jacket or something. He looked decent — not a criminal — trying to make a better life. It came down to this. He was dead. I still feel sorry for him."

Sheriff Dever is back in Arizona, one day after his April 20 testimony before the U.S. Senate.

He drives over to the Turquoise Valley Golf Course in Naco, where the Sierra Vista Chamber of Commerce is holding a breakfast meeting.

Standing before about 30 people, service pistol strapped to his blue jeans, Dever speaks with quiet passion about (what else?) immigration, before inviting questions.

Senate Bill 1070, then a few days from getting signed by Governor Brewer, and Rob Krentz's murder are what the businesspeople most want to know about.

Susan Tegmeyer, the chamber's president, frets that SB 1070 will make the rest of the country believe that Arizona is filled with racists: "I'm thinking that 1070 is just another nail in our economic coffin."

Dever responds, "The alternative is to do nothing, and that's not acceptable. I expect that our deputies will exercise restraint on 1070. I simply won't allow random wholesale questioning of who you are and where you come from."

The sheriff tells another story about Janet Napolitano:

"As governor of Arizona, she would send bills to the feds trying to get counties repaid for handling stuff that the feds should have been doing. I thought, cool.

"She also wrote to W. asking for National Guard troops down here. I thought, cool.

"Then she goes to D.C. A year ago, I was in her office there, and I asked her directly if deploying the National Guard on the border was still on her plate. She said it was. I said, do you have a timeframe?

"She said they were just trying to determine the specific mission. I said, 'You have a timeframe?' She said, 'Three weeks.' That was a year ago."

On May 25, President Obama announced plans to order up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the border, including an unspecified number to Cochise County.

It is reminiscent of June 2006, when President Bush sent 6,000 troops to the border for two years in a support role that did not include arresting or even tracking down illegal migrants.

Larry Dever long has endorsed moving troops to the border, as do the ranchers interviewed by New Times for this story.

But each of them in his and her own fashion warn against thinking that the Guard will be a magic cure to the multi-layered issue of illegal immigration.

"I'd like to know what the plan is when someone finally figures it out," Dever tells New Times drolly. "I'm sure someone in D.C. knows what they're doing, right?"

Bud Strom, the old rancher and Army general, is skeptical that larger National Guard presence on the border is a positive move.

"Unless they are really savvy to the sophistication of the drug cartels, I don't think they'll be of immediate use," Strom says of the guardsmen. "They'd have to be trained to the methodology that drug smugglers are using down here, and it's not an overnight thing."

The Border Patrol's T.J. Bonner agrees: "This shouldn't be a case of, 'Okay, sleep tight, America, we've got a few thousand troops down there to save the day.

"I can see the Guard helping us with surveillance, with helping us maintain roads, but they don't have the training that we have.'

"Yes, we have seen a tremendous escalation of violence in the last year, especially on the Mexican side. But to just put them out there and say, 'Arrest these people,' is inviting disaster because they have very different training than us — very proactive, not reactive. They are going to have to be seriously retrained."

On the other hand, retired Judge Rich Winkler wants the U.S. military to deploy as many troops as necessary to the border, with permission to do whatever it takes to stem the flow of drugs and illegal aliens.

Hold on, aren't most ranchers deeply opposed to the federal government's butting into their lives, for instance telling them how to run their cattle?

Isn't it a bit much to count on the feds — the personification to many ranchers of all that is wrong with this country — to solve something that politicians and their apparatchiks have made worse over generations?

Standing beneath a windmill on his magnificent ranch on an April day so perfect that, for at least a moment or two, nothing seems to be wrong in the world, Rich Winkler chuckles.

"Well, I guess it all depends on whose ox is being gored," he says. "And, believe me, our ox out here is really being gored."

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Just Saying...
Just Saying...

The law is taken directly from the Federal law. So if you want to boycott or complain about it, do it correctly and boycott the U.S! It is NOT RACIAL PROFILING...Did you read the law!?? It states that if you have pulled someone over for a traffic violation, or have them in custody for a crime they have already commited you can ask for proof of citizenship...Its not hey you are brown I am gonna pull you over and make sure you are legal... People who immigrated here ILLEGALLY should have thought of the consequences before doing so. Everyone should take accountability for their actions, and the reprecussions of those actions. Coming into a country illegally, commiting fraud and stealing peoples identities, commiting tax evasion are serious crimes along with many others...and any CITIZEN would be made to take accountability if they stole someones Identity and so forth. What you are implying is that it is okay for me to break into your home, steal your things, take advatage of your home and it is okay because I am doing it to better myself and my family... Thanks, I will keep that in consideration..Good thing I have responsibility and take accountability for my actions and think before I do something stupid and then when the time comes to suffer the consequences I dont make up some excuse and throw racism into it to save myself from having to take responsibility for what I have done.I think all states should take this law and put it into play since our government hasn't done so! (BTW I am not a conservative, I just believe that if you wanted to come to USA so bad, do it the right way like all the CITIZENS of this country who immigrated here did, or suffer the consequences of your actions...)


Caps lock is not your friend, SCOTT.



Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith

Just caught up with this story. It was the best one I've seen on this subject.

Lee B
Lee B

Thank you Arizona, At least there are people standing up for America with some backbone. This past Saturday I was in the local Walmart watching no speaking English people with there buggies over filled, pay with the Georgia Peach care food stamp card.When they walked, got into a high dollar vehicle. Georgia has one of the highest counts of illegals in the United States. We have around 11% unemployment, but when you go into any carpet mill you will find 75% foreigners. I talk to Americans who work there and they tell me that most of them have 2 or 3 Id's. There are a lot of American sewing the carpet mills here and will probably be more law suites soon. Americans have had it with all of this, all Americans in Georgia would like to see what has happened in Arizona happen in Georgia, GOD BLESS YOU ARIZONA!!!!!!!

Yvonne Gatz
Yvonne Gatz

While I am very sympathetic regarding the death of Mr. Krentz and feel very sorry for his family, I don't think the state of Arizona is doing the right thing to enact this law. Nor do I think it is going to be very effective in stopping the migration of illegals into our country. The issue of immigration is a huge one, largely because of economics. We say that we want to stop illegal immigration, yet employers of large and small companies are usually more than willing to employ them. In many parts of our nation, our economy cannot be sustained without immigrants who are willing to work for minimum wage or less. Let's try to figure out a way to welcome immigrants into our country, people who are willing to work and support their families, and make them legal residents and a part of our productive economy.

Paul Yeaman
Paul Yeaman

I have relatives who live and work in the state as well as a best friend who works for the State of Arizona. I admire Gov. Brewer's courage in establishing laws which actually display the common sense approach to the epidemic flooding of illegal aliens into our United States. It's unfortunate that individual feelings are injured. I would certainly be offended if I was, for example, stopped by the police because I happened to be from another country. My guess is that many non-American people are outraged because their ability to enter our U. S. may be coming to an end and it has the potential to seriously affect their ability to earn money without paying taxes. Being an American is a blessing - not a curse and I make no apology for being born here or for working and investing my earnings in this country. I learned early on that it's not a bad thing to be able to defend myself. I don't want to fight every bully who challenges me - but if the security and well-being of my family or myself is threatened and I'm given no opportunity to retreat, I must defend my home and the lives of those I love. I pray that our leaders in Washington. My desire would be for them to have such a profound change of heart that it would cause them to return to the United States which our fore-fathers not only envisioned but established.



The year is 1907, one hundred and 3+ years ago. Theodore Roosevelt's ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907.

'In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.. And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.'

Theodore Roosevelt 1907

Every American citizen needs to read this!


A lot of you people are living in a fantasy world. You actually think that because a law is written a certain way it will be enforced exactly in that manner? You must be nuts! Where have you been all your lives? Look around you, Andrew Thomas and Joseph Arpaio twisting and ignoring the laws and using them to their advantage. You think street cops don't do this, especially if they have the implied consent of their superiors?

Obviously, none of you are brown-skinned young males so you will never know what it's like, just like if you are not a woman you will never know what childbirth feels like. I have personally been falsely accused by Glendale police officers of traffic violations, obviously just an excuse to pull me over. And even after I showed him my drivers license and registration, this officer called ICE on me! I guarantee you this is not an isolated case, this goes on every day in this city and in this country.

What you need to do is stop being hypocrites and admit that discrimination in this country is as strong as ever and SB1070 will just give these racists even more permission to continue their practices.


The only way to stop illegals from crossing our borders it to eliminate the amnesty they receive if successful; eliminate the incentive!! If people from other countries know that they can come to the US, receive free medical care, food stamps, housing, education, etc... in addition to all of the other programs and support available, they will continue to do whatever it takes to get here. This is not rocket science and that point should be at the forefront of every conversation regarding our borders and its security. Eliminate the never ending welfare program immediately.

Our ability as a nation on the federal level to support everyone else ended long ago and never should have been implemented in the first place. Let church organizations, businesses and the private citizens of this great country assist those in need on their own terms if they so choose; both here and abroad... its not the federal governments responsibility.

As for support from the feds in the form of troops and resources, particularly in reference to the closing paragraphs... it "is" the job of our federal government to secure the borders. In fact, it is one of the few jobs they "should" have by the way so yes, send all of the troops necessary to close them up regardless of the cost, which I assume would pale in comparison to the freebies we give out in all of the other areas I mentioned above.

On one hand, you have hard working citizens struggling to make ends meet; medical insurance, sending their kids to school, paying for food and housing, etc... and then on the other hand, you have millions who come here illegally and get all of those things for free!! Why is this happening?? No matter what political party you belong to, anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that this is so incredibly wrong. I often think that we would do better losing all of the ivy league grads who are supposedly "so smart" and bring in a crew of folks with some common sense to run this country. Maybe we should take a poll on that one??

As for the other major reason our borders are so enticing, drugs, eliminate the demand and presto, you eliminate the drug trafficking. Legalize all of the drugs, allow private companies to make them, tax the hell out of it and there would be no need to import the crap from other countries.

Furthermore, take all of the resources that are being thrown down the drain fighting the "war on drugs," and use it to protect the general public from being harmed by those using drugs while in positions of responsibility; flying a commercial airplane, driving a car or school bus, surgeons operating on patients, etc... the dopes that choose to do dope are going to use whether it is against the law or not.

Pissed off gringo
Pissed off gringo

Now that the mexicans have drawn 1st blood IF I lived on the boarder I'd be patroling my property armed to the teeth and treat all the trespassin mexicans like the murdering criminals they are...Hell, I'm for hire for those of you who live down there...


Can't we just get rid of Arizona and annex Puerto Rico?


why in the world do us americans let the illegals think theycan tell us how to run our state,and try to tell us what we canand cant do.this is the only bunch of immegrants that have no intention of becoming legal,they just want benefits that are free to them,and how dare us not like it

jim in Tempe
jim in Tempe

Your un-informed and obviously un-read interpretation of SB1070 further adds to the ignorance and intolerance of an effort to protect and defend our state from invasion of "Un-documented Democrats". READ THE BILL BEFORE YOU CONDEMN IT...there is NO requirement for law enforcement to stop someone based only on suspected immigration issues! You are part of the problem, not part of the solution, certainly not a respected investigative journalist. To repeat an expression, YOU LIE !!!


Targeting brown skin people, no kidding! News flash: the people crossing the border illegally...are brown! So you are going to get carded because you're brown, I get carded for alcohol because I look under 21, I'm 32 years old. Some stores go as far as posting signs that say if you are under 31 (yes 31), you must show ID, yet that doesn't stop people from refusing to sell me alcohol until I show them my ID, again I'm 32 for you slow people. That is "AGE DISCRIMINATION". But you know what, all I do is pull out my wallet, show my ID, and the clerk feels retarded. If an officer walks up to you and asks you for ID, and you say in ENGLISH, "No problem officer, here you go". Your conversation will be over almost immediately and he will tell you to have a good day. However, if you can't speak English, or barely speak it, then fail to produce identification, what do you think is going to happen. Allow me to enlighten the individuals that recently migrated here legally. My salads from Boston Market (yeah, it sucks, i know) no longer come with White-Meat chicken on them because a bunch of vegetarians complained and now I have to request it extra on the side, which is now dark meat stripped from the greasy-skinned chicken which I refuse to eat. Welcome to America! Line up and settle in for long road where everyone else loves being in your business and telling you what to do. This is how America works in this day and age. Complaining because you are going to get carded, for being brown skinned, when the rest of your country is entering this country illegally. Blame the illegals, they are the problem. They are ruining it for you, not America. We are just weeding out the problem. I don't care what color you are, if you are here illegally, you deserve every bit of hardship you get from America. For those of you here "LEGALLY", I welcome you to America and say, "Buckle up, learn English, learn the laws, and it will be a smooth, profitable, easy ride...or you can head back where you came from or end up poor or in jail like the rest of the WHITE, black, brown, yellow, red-skinned individuals that just don't get it and want to blame race, society, or whatever else they can think of."


Napolitano is a boob, an imbaracement and should step down from her post. Everytime she opens her mouth she proves how missinformed and ignorent she is.

Judd Tounshendeaux
Judd Tounshendeaux

The continual media hype about this law has smoke screened it's original intent. If your stop for a traffic violation anywhere in this country the first thing they ask for is your license and registration! Americans typically carry some form of identification. You need it in all aspects of our credit card carrying society. Why is this such a personal affront? Would rather see that mini-van filled with 18 illegals flipped over on the highway, maybe on top of one of your children? or should somebody be able to stop them before hand and ask the for their proper identification. We get so much bad press from all over this country, but noby ever mentioned that this law has an 80%approval rating among Arizonians, why?

Dennis Wright
Dennis Wright

Janet Napolitano has sawdust for brains.If this aws true then why are we on aboutthe drug traffic? Human trafficking is noless than slave trade.And the Illegals.I hunt most of the state and see it alot.Buy there drugs and support the Cartels.Hire the laborers,support the slave trade.And then the free ride the Illegals reap.Yes our border has never been so secure!

An Arizonan
An Arizonan

As usual, the story doesn't say much about the conditions inside of Mexico that make people want to leave. It mentions how dangerous it is for migrants going through Mexico, but that's about it. Ironic that the story mentions someone with diabetes being apprehended - first thing I thought was "great - another drain on our medical system that we will have to pay for". The fact is that we are a dumping ground for people that Mexico doesn't want. We are not talking about Mexicos best and brightest here. How many doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. are making the long and dangerous trek across the desert with a backpack?? Mexico's government and well-heeled upper class want illegal migration to continue so the pressure will be off of them to provide their own citizens with educations, jobs, basic rights. We are fools for allowing this to happen.


Editors note is incorrect in saying that "the police are required to stop anyone they think is here illegally." That's not true at all. They will be allowed to ask for proof of being in this country legally only after a person has been stopped for a crime whether vehicular or otherwise. The cannot arbitrarily stop anyone and just ask for proof of citizenship. This is not the gestapo so get it right please. It's incorrect comments like that, that cause problems. If you get stopped for a traffic violation, you have to show your ID and if you have an out of country ID then yoou should have either a passport, visa or green card which you should be carrying with you anyway.


Our former governor is not to be trusted. She changes her tune real fast when she is in charge. While gov for AZ, she screamed for border security. Now that she is in charge, not much has changed and things are peachy! I feel she is being controlled by those with an agenda to impose more security on the people, istead of securing our nation. Her ideas are synonymous with big brother controls based on her ADOT camera system.

Second, "probable cause" of SB1070 is unconstitutional because it leaves racial profiling open to police officers who want to abuse their power. The bill should bound ID checks to the system of due process; not random stops or suspicion. If AZ wants to turn to the Gestapo system, then suceed from the union... otherwise comply with the Constitution. Remember people, NEVER sacrifice FREEDOM for SECURITY!

Our borders need to be secured at the border, NOT via random stops! The bill does not do enough to protect LEGAL citizens from an opressive police state and forces LEGAL citizens to prove their citizenship through a negative "I am NOT and illegal-citizen". This is so backwards; but people are sick of this violation of our country that they are willing to sacrifice their freedoms to solve it!


Richard Plunkett
Richard Plunkett

Why should there be law suits? The 1070 law is no different than the Federal law? And besides if you read California Penal Code 834B. It states the same as what 1070 states,only allowing the state to act. So California by boycotting and such are in Violation of there own state Laws! People need to read and understand ,rather than point a finger and cry over something they have yet read or understand. Respects


Great article, well done!

When I read this, I can't help but wonder whatwould happen if USA would finally legalize drugs - thiswould disable to drug cartels and end a lot of violence.I think it would help Mexico and it's people from the corruptionand violence they are so desperate to flee from.

dennis huff
dennis huff

the govt should have stopped all this illegal immigration15 years ago now its out of hand.see if all these protestersfrom out of state will want to take on all the bills az taxpayerhave had to aka california,owner of phoenix suns and rev alif dumb people would read it its same as fed law ,only differancethey wont enforce it,we ;americans;need to do someting to save thisstate from being over run,like calif,thats why they are brokewhat part of illegal dont they understand


Janet Napolitano is either an idiot or a liar and I don't think she is an idiot.


Janet Napolitano is a “SABOTEUR” of America’s safety. She wants the American people to suffer. The U.S./ Mexican border has never been secure. Also my grandfather fought in the Spanish/American war. Not the Mexico/USA war! Mexicans are not indigenous to Mexico. They came after the Spanish left. Mexicans never lived in the US as the story states. They were Indians and Spaniards. The writer Paul Rubin is clueless to American history. Too many western movies I guess.

I'll repost from a priar news
I'll repost from a priar news

My God, listen to all these city dwelling bleeding heart liberals whom most of them have ever seen an Mexican or anyone else of Hispanic decent, yet they so quickly criticize a law in our state that is taken straight from the Federal Immigration law, so I guess the entire U.S. of A.'s immigration legislation is racists. Grow up you bunch of whiners.

The problem is all you W.A.S.P. city people think you have to get into the middle of something you have no clue about. I grew up out in the desert, I have literally seen bushes walk across my property, I saw the chief of police on the Ak-chin Rez shot by an illegal, I've seen our chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits pigs and cows stole so they could eat, I've had them try to get into my house in the middle of the night, the things you people do not see or hear about on the liberal news, these are the things we experience out in the desert. This has become life as usual out where I grew up. You call this law and us racist, because we support it, we call it being tired of having to defend our property, livelihood and our families, as if we were still in the early 1900's, in the United States of America. You say that we are insensitive, yet there is a standing unspoken rule in the southern parts of Az. to leave food out for travelers to eat and water to drink, just because we do not want illegals here does not mean that we are wishing for them to perish.

We are not against immigration, we are against illegal immigration, we are sick of the crime we are sick of it all and then to spit in the faces of all of us, we are told to be tolerant and get called racists from other Americas, who have no idea about what we deal with out here. Just a quick fact, 150 thousand criminals aliens were deported last year. That's just the criminals, rapists, murderers, arson's, etc. That 411 illegal criminals every day that are deported, and you liberal pansies are thinking it is ok for them to be here.

Please do me a favor, if you are anywhere else in the country or the world, other than Arizona, shut up and stop talking about the infestation of crime that you do not have to deal with like we do. In other words, if you do not know what you are talking about shut the HELL up. And if you have never seen what goes on south of Phoenix you have no reason to open your mouth and show your ignorance.

The language has changed to keep people from screaming racism, but we all know that chant is never going to end. Read the bill people and stop whiningWhite folks! Crazy people!


Great article!! I just finished reading tThe Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and believe you" hit the nail on the head."


Actually the AMMENDMENT reads "LAWFUL STOP" not "Lawful contact" Are you guys for real?


Haha Steve Tracy! Yes I saw her on Larry King and she is not skilled at hiding that deer in the headlights look when she is being forced to lie - her body language tells the truth of her lies.


Lee, I am not reading that. The bill states "lawful contact" from the law enforcement officer. Pulling somebody over for DWB is not lawful contact. If you know that you violated no traffic laws the first thing you should do is ask the officer why did he/she pull you over? So far that has always been sufficient to deter the officers targeting mi familia. Please show me where you get this interpretation because I do not see it.

Steve Tracy
Steve Tracy

Good old Janet Napolitano. Inept in Phoenix; inept in D.C. So the border is as secure as it ever was, eh. Janet is about as talented at extemporaneous public commentary as that born again imbecile George W. Bushwhacker was. Did she mean that to be funny or to simply showcase how vacuous an over-the-hill lesbian bureaucrat gets in old age. NOW HEAR THIS ALL YOU SANDLAND SHITHEADS... THE BORDER IS AS SECURE AS IT EVER WAS AND WILL EVER BE. All of Obamas troop deployment to the desert is all for show, as was Granny Brewster's "cordial" chat with the President in D.C. It's all for show. Methamphetamine will still get delivered to the U.s. and so will many Mexicans trying to get here for work. We can wait for Rusty-ass Pearce to start shooting.


Sarum, you should have a second look at 1070.

Cops could ALREADY check your papers if you were detained in connection with a suspected criminal act.

1070 requires cops to check your papers regardless of suspected criminal activity if they suspect you are an illegal immigrant. And what would lead them to suspect that? Brown skin? Indian appearance? Speaking Spanish to your child? Ranchero music heard from your open car window?

1070 is the criminalization of ethnicity and culture.

Jack Swift
Jack Swift

Lee, get your head out of your ass. What Rubin report is exactly the case. The authorities think it was an illegal alien, for sure, they just haven't announced it yet. But they definitely do not think the assailant is in the United States. I agaree that there a lot of racists out there, but the situation is what it is.


I have no complaint about this article. It is fairly done as a part of a series to show the entirety of the problem and most of us do have mixed feelings about this issue and knowing where to draw the line in the sand state is difficult.

What I do have a gripe with, and consider irresponsible, legally questionable journalism is the header to the article that is a flat out lie about the law. To my understanding the question of papers can only be asked during the investigation of a crime. There will be no pulling people over on the suspicion that they are illegal under this law. Racial profiling (DWB) already is in effect and happens weekly to members of my household. If the illegal commits no crime they will never be asked for their papers so the law will never affect them.

If the illegal learns to speak some English and bothers to learn the law, that illegal can prevent the question of asking for papers from ever occurring. If the English speaking, false paper carrying illegal is pulled over for DWB only and the illegal knows the laws the illegal can protect his/her self and the paper question will never get asked. So in effect, this law will also enforce a semblance of assimilation - speaking the language and obeying the laws, which for many of us is all we are asking for.

Law-abiding illegals can live out their whole lives with this law never having an affect on them any way whatsoever.


The mark of a racist a-hole is that they couldn't bear for Krentz's killer NOT to be an illegal because that wouldn't support their narrative of the evil depraved killer Mexicans crossing the border.

The truth is, investigators have made it quite clear that the suspect they are seeking is in the US, not Mexico, and that the nationality of the suspect is unknown.

Statements like "Though authorities still haven't officially linked the homicide to an illegal alien, they've done everything but."

are just piss-poor journalism. The fact is that they haven't linked the homicide to ANY nationality, let alone any immigration status, and Rubin's statement is more worthy of a Glenn Beck screed than it is of the Phoenix New Times.

Where was the editor on this one? Napping?


Mr. Krentz has been a rallying cry for tougher border security, but has anyone asked, " Who was Mr. Krentz ". He was known as the load cutter amongst the smugglers. He would cut drug loads in half, turn in the other half to the police, and sell the other half. Quit trying to make him out as some poor rancher who was murdered. The Police will not comment on this, because they know its the truth.


Unbelievable our former Governer did nothing to secure our border when she was in arizona and now head of homeland security, god help us all were screwed.


Janet Napolitano only knows the border from the dog and pony shows arranged by her handlers with the state and the Dept. of Homeland (oh so close to "Vaterland") Security. She hasn't driven the border by herself, or spent any meaningful time on the border. She's just another ego-driven pol on the make. Ad infinitum. Is there anyone on government interested in anyone beside themselves?

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