Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Krentz Family: Homeland Heroes

It's not as if "political leaders" had not been forewarned of the danger.

Tom Tancredo
wrote about the Krentz family 7 years ago:

I would like to bring to your attention a group of people whom I would like to include in what I am now calling the Homeland Heroes. These are folks whose daily lives confront them with incredible stresses and challenges far different than what their business had initially provided them.

They started out ranching, and that is a difficult task in and of itself. But, after generations in that particular industry and living in the same area on the border of Mexico, living in Arizona, many of the people who reside there are now living in what, I think, can be accurately described as a war zone. Every week I have been bringing to the U.S. House of Representatives the names and pictures of those people that I want to induct into this Homeland Heroes Hall of Fame.

Tonight, I want to talk about Rob and Sue Krentz, who own and operate a ranch located on the far southeastern corner of Arizona, about 12 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border and 25 miles northeast of the city of Douglas. They are third-generation ranchers. This ranch has been in their family since 1907.

Rob and Susie Krentz have three children they raised on that ranch. Their two sons, Andrew and Frank, attend New Mexico State University, and their daughter, Kyle, is a high school senior.

The Krentz family story is similar in many ways to the experiences of hundreds of other ranchers in this border region. Yet, to them and their children it, is unique and it is personal and dreadful in the impact it has had on their lives and the future viability of their way of life as ranchers.

Just one tiny statistic begins to tell the story of what these folks face every single day. In the month of November, 2002, in the Tucson Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, which includes Cochise County, where the Krentz ranch is located, the Border Patrol appre- hended 23,000 border crossers.

That was in the month of November. It is anybody's guess as to how many people actually come across, but many, many people would suggest that the ratio is just about maybe one in five, and that is a very conservative estimate, that, for every one person we apprehend on the border, at least five get through. Again, I think it is closer to one in ten, but I will accept even this very, very conservative estimate, that, for every one we get at the border apprehended, five go by them.

This means that, in just the month of November near this ranch and over their property, when we had 23,000 apprehended, using the conservative estimate of one to five, it meant that 115,000 people crossed the border illegally. We are just talking about one little chunk of the border, the Tucson Sector.

That means that, if we project that out over the course of a year, 1,300,000 people come across that border in that sector. I guarantee that is a conservative estimate, but let us use it. Every month, approximately one million three hundred thousand people are coming across that border and coming across the lands of the people that live there, including the Krentz family.

I had the opportunity to spend some time down there just a few weeks ago, and I can attest to the fact that, on any given evening, one can watch dozens and dozens of illegal aliens trespassing across the land. The Krentz family will call the U.S. Border Patrol to come and intercept them. Sometimes the Border Patrol will come; sometimes they will not.

Mr. Krentz estimates that, over the past 5 years, his family has suffered a loss of at least $300,000 a year due to cut fences, stolen and damaged vehicles and farm equip- ment, and damage to the rangeland itself. This is very, very delicate land. It is desert land--something that has to be conserved and protected. When there are 1,300,000 trespassers coming across the land every year, it is not being conserved and protected. The land is being destroyed.

The Krentz ranch has 1,000 head of cattle. The continual movement of people across that domain constantly disturbs the livestock, impacting their own value, and sometimes somethings happen that are even worse. In February of last year, for instance, a calf was butchered by illegal alien trespassers. Two men responsible were caught. They were tried. They were found guilty. They served a total of 51 days in jail. They were also or- dered to pay $200 in restitution to the Krentz ranch. The Krentz ranch has not seen a cent of that money; and, of course, our best guess is they will not because these people have been released. They either came back into the population up here in the U.S.A. or returned to Mexico.

These losses, which are estimated in the neighborhood of $300,000, include damage to and disease-producing microorganisms in the water tanks and waterlines on their ranch. The family and their employees cannot drink out of the water tanks any longer because of the disease that happens to be in the water on the land--disease brought in by illegal alien trespassers--and the damage done by purposeful, deliberate vandalism on the part of the trespassers.

The estimated value of the water that has been lost on their property to date is $4 million. In June of 2002, the Krentz brothers discovered two separate instances of damaged waterlines. Illegal aliens had broken the two-inch PBC waterline in order to get drinking water. The Krentz ranch waterline runs for 40 miles and is one of the best gravity-flow waterlines in the State of Arizona. Because of these two breaks in the long pipeline, several hundred thousand gallons of precious water were wasted.

The Krentz family continually has to deal with threats, physical threats, from illegal border crossers. Recently, a family member came upon a group of 39 trespassers and was threatened by them, when he asked them to turn around and get off his land. He returned home, called the Border Patrol, and they did come and apprehend them. But we both know what happens is they put them into a revolving door near the border and, in a few days or in a few hours, many times they are coming right back across the border.

The Krentz family members are not vigilantes. They do not try to apprehend illegal aliens by force. They do not carry arms for their own protection. They will always call the Border Patrol when they observe trespassers. They and the other ranchers are trying to follow the law and work with the Border Patrol, and all they want from their own government is to enforce the law as well as to protect them and their property, and that is what we owe them. They are only asking the minimum from their own government, that it protect their lives and property from people coming across the border illegally. The Krentz family members are asking the government to protect them from this invasion by illegal aliens.

And there are no two ways about it. "Invasion" is an appropriate word to use to describe what is happening on our borders, especially on our southern border. It is an invasion, and the Krentz family and other ranchers on land near and adjacent to the border are asking their government to protect them from that invasion.

I want to salute Rob and Susie Krentz and Phil and Carrie Krentz as homeland heroes who are bearing the brunt of an invasion of over a million illegal aliens crossing our southern border. We need to understand their plight. We have a moral obligation to do something about it.

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