Monday, July 12, 2010

Ranchers calling for more agents

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords calls Cochise County one of the most porous parts of the Arizona border. That's why she invited the Tucson sector border patrol chief and the chairman of the house committee on homeland security to talk to local ranchers. Giffords wanted these policy makers to hear from people facing this problem head on. The ranchers had one real central message they wanted to get across. They want to see more border patrol physically on the border instead of miles and miles away from it. A room full of people are tired of not seeing border patrol agents along the border. They gave Tucson Sector Chief Victor Manjarrez an earful. "If you look on your patch there it doesn't say the I-10 patrol. It doesn't say the Pinal county patrol. It says the border patrol," Steve Brophy, a local rancher, said. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords invited Bennie Thompson. He's the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Congressman Thompson got a chance to tour the border not only with the border patrol but also some of the ranchers. "I'll go away much more informed as to what the problem with border security in this area," Thompson said. Robert Krentz' widow Susan tearfully listened and told Nine On Your Side meetings like these are good but she wants everyone to focus more on the entire border instead of just where her husband died. "There's a lot of people that are suffering. We just need to control our borders that's all," Krentz said...more

"People are scared," says Douglas rancher Peggy Davis. "People on both sides of the border are scared." And that she says, is a recipe for violence. Davis is just one of dozens of ranchers who gathered at the Douglas visitors center for a town hall with the Department of Homeland Security. Over and over, the ranchers pleaded for the Border Patrol to move their resources back to the border. "You can't leave the big back door open," says Gary Thrasher. "Moving your stations farther and farther away from the border, that's foolishness." "Please return your force to the border," says another. The ranchers are concerned because immigration has been forced out of the cities and towns into the rural areas. That means, immigrants will pass thorough their ranches long before they run into the border patrol miles inside the border. One person who sat quietly through the entire hour and a half town hall was Susan Krentz, the wife of Rob Krentz, who was shot and killed on his ranch last spring. While she didn't contribute to the discussion, she said afterwards she hoped the government is listening. "I hope so, I hope so. It's very sad you know. I have to go through it every day," she says. "And I didn't saddle this horse. I would like not to be here...more

The most comprehensive TV news report on the meeting was by KOLD-TV. I'm unable to post the video, but you can view it here.

Here is the video report from KOA-TV:

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