Wednesday, March 23, 2016

At border, Arizona voters not wild about building Donald Trump's wall

Border security is more than just a political issue for Dan Bell. It’s a reality he faces every day as a third-generation southern Arizona cattle rancher. The 35,000 acres of land he ranches share 10 miles of border with Mexico just west of Nogales. When he’s out working on his ranch on horseback, the 47-year-old rancher never knows when he might run into a group of undocumented migrants, or worse, drug smugglers. Twice in the past 13 years or so he’s come face to face with drug smugglers – once when he rounded a corner in a remote canyon and encountered 10 men hauling packs of marijuana on their backs. Two of the men were armed with rifles, one of which appeared to be an AK-47 assault rifle. Bell and the ranch hand he was riding with immediately turned their horses and headed in another direction. “It’s a big issue of safety and concern for us,” Bell said Tuesday, recalling the incident as he drove his pickup through some of the same remote canyons. And while he says many southern Arizona ranchers like Trump’s idea of building a wall, Bell believes building a wall along the entire border would be both impractical and expensive. What’s needed, he said, is a combination of fencing, surveillance technology and, above all, building roads that give Border Patrol agents better access to remote areas so they can reach illegal border crosses who invariably will climb over any wall. “If you have all the pieces of the puzzle, you might have areas where a wall might be effective and other areas where other things might be more effective,” Bell said. His comments were echoed by many other voters interviewed Tuesday in Nogales...more

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