Sunday, January 30, 2011


Precious or Sanctimonious?
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

     Has anybody read the definition of “sovereignty”?  It is the condition of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area.
     In his book, President George W. Bush described how United States troops begged him to allow entry into Pakistan to deal with border insurgency.  The president’s hesitation was justified when an unplanned border skirmish resulted in political outrage from Pakistan.  From that experience, President Bush noted, “no democracy can tolerate violations of its sovereignty.”  His action for disallowing intrusion was correct. Dominion over lands within a country’s borders is fundamental.
     Scholars point out that states don’t have powers of external sovereignty.  For example, states don’t have the right to deport undesirables, but, in the underpinnings of our republic, sovereignty belongs to the people.  They have delegated it to the federal government for safekeeping and enforcement.  The Constitutional mandate to control our borders is a reminder of that transfer of trust. 
     “We the people” . . . but we the people are becoming more confused why the Pakistani issue is defined, and our southern border remains a subject of cartel intrusion that threatens our sovereignty and our existence.     
     Today, the Mexican border is arguably the most dangerous border in the world.  The entire border is at issue, but the most dangerous is that portion within the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector. 
     That segment of border is the smuggling channel of choice.  Nearly half of all marijuana and illegal immigrant interdiction and apprehensions take place there.  Statistically, apprehensions take place there at a rate 17 times that of flanking sectors at El Paso and Yuma.  Another way of depicting that rate of entry is for every three successful entrants coming through the flanking sectors there are at least 51 that come through the Tucson corridor. 
     From a collateral perspective, published data suggests that a minimum of 100,000 females entering through that corridor were raped in 2009.  That isn’t from the actions of Americans.  It is from the participants of the Cartel war on our border. These are illegals carrying out opportunistic acts of barbarism against each other without recourse.
     For some time, signs on federal lands south of Interstate 8 in Arizona have warned Americans about the danger of entry.  Likewise, federal land agencies are increasing measures to assure safety for their employees.  At Organ Pipe, Park Service employees are alerted to red, blue, and white levels of danger.  In lands of red alerts, employees are not allowed to enter without armed escorts.  In lands of blue alerts, employees must have a fellow employee along.  Only land with white alert is safe enough for citizens.  The rest is occupied by smugglers.  By definition, the sovereignty of those lands has been conceded.     
     At Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, a manager has suggested that the public has been fed too much fear mongering.  If that is so, why has the USFWS declared a section of that refuge off limits to entry since 2006?  Likewise, why was there a recent scoping effort among federal agencies for enhanced protection for federal border employees? 
     The fact is land agencies are finding themselves on an increasingly uncomfortable and exposed front of the border war.  How bad is it?  A recent GAO report reveals that Mexican cartels are using the parking lot at the Organ Pipe Visitor Center for a staging point to run drugs north!  
     The protected lands hoax in Arizona has been exposed and is no longer innocent.  The environmental front has demanded refuges, and monuments, and designated Wilderness with a great deal of success.  It has increasingly forced the institution of de facto wilderness management to the point that border security is floundering in a quagmire of confusion.  The expansion of interconnected federal lands with access restriction and conflicting agency missions has promulgated the grandest smuggling corridor in the world.
     The Roosevelt Reservation (or Easement)
     Even the most basic access for the Border Patrol has been confounded with argument.
In 1907, President Roosevelt by Executive Order decreed that an easement of 60’ was set aside permanently for public reservation along the border with Mexico.  One would think that such a reservation would be used without qualification by the Border Patrol to access any border lands, but that isn’t the case.  When the border fence was being staged for construction at Buenos Aires, the manager declared the wall was incompatible with the Refuge’s mission. 
     In fact, further environmental interpretation of the Roosevelt Reservation revealed that the easement was silent to immigration (the Border Patrol wasn’t formed until 1924), and, since it referred only to “protection against (the) smuggling of goods”, there is only allowance for the installation of a public highway.  The interpretation was that barriers and fences were not intended at the time of the action, and should not be allowed now!
     The specific issue at Buenos Aires was that the fence would put in jeopardy 50 acres of “potential habitat for the endangered masked quail for which the Reserve was founded.”  Over in the San Pedro Drainage NCA, the fence would impact even more land.  It was there that 64 acres of land would be impacted.  In attempting to find out if that was a significant impact, it was discovered that it would affect about .11% of the 58,000 acres in that federal land mass.
     That corridor would also impact wildlife.  It was determined it could affect over 804 lizards, over 20 birds, and over 109 small mammals.  Furthermore, the lights would attract insects and the bats that would follow could be in greater risk of predation and injury.  Most profound could be the dreaded “remote potential of a roaming jaguar to be affected” . . . Whoa!
     The Battle
     How should Americans interpret this?  Those living on the border are on a track of increasing cynicism.  They search for the champion who puts the most basic Constitutional mandate, the obligation to protect our borders, ahead of all agendas. 
     No group can fight a conflict with their flank exposed. The fight is twofold.  The first is the expansion of the smuggling corridors and the implicit surrender of sovereignty to those lands.  The second is the environmental front that has wrestled the hearts and minds away from a citizenry that is distancing itself from the original and rightful claimant, the individual. 
     In the American model, how can you give up one without destroying the other?  In the American model, how can you destroy one and claim the other?  This is a great and dangerous dilemma.  It cannot be set aside for future consideration.  It stands in greater contrast each day the border war rages. 
     Look southward America . . . you can see it silhouetted against the fire that is burning. 

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico.  “When we die do we do it alone or do we do it with our association memberships?  Likewise, when the Constitution is defended is it on behalf of the individual or is it on behalf of association fees and memberships?  Where is a Founding Father when you need one?” 


It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty...James Monroe

The very heart of being a sovereign nation is providing security of one's borders, of one's internal situation, and security against anyone attacking one's nation. That is the very heart of what I believe is sovereignty...John Warner

A state can no more give up part of her sovereignty than a lady can give up part of her virtue...John Randolp

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