Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Arizonans to House committee: Border strategy creates 'no man’s lands'

Rep. Martha McSally used the border subcommittee she now chairs as well as witnesses from rural Arizona on Tuesday to call attention to a Border Patrol strategy that they say devastates their land and puts lives at risk. The Border Patrol strategy, called “defense-in-depth,” focuses resources on urban areas along the border but moves checkpoints in rural areas to miles inside the border. That, the Tucson Republican said, has pushed illegal crossings to rural areas like the southern border of her congressional district. “On a routine basis, our fellow citizens are exposed to illicit activity that crosses the border, trespasses on their land, destroys their property and puts their lives at risk,” McSally said at a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee. She said the policy hurts small businesses and tourism and needs to be re-examined. Peggy Davis’ family ranch is 12 miles southeast of Tombstone and 25 miles north of the Mexican border. She said illegal immigrants have “cut fences, drained water tanks, killed animals, robbed our home, slept in our barn, stole a vehicle, trampled the grass for our cattle, and left literally tons of trash.” Davis said she told the head of the Border Patrol who came up with the defense-in-depth strategy it was “the dumbest idea I had ever heard.” “This failed strategy has forced illegal aliens into the rural areas of Arizona where ranchers and other rural residents have become the first line of defense because the majority of the Border Patrol agents are north of where we live,” she said. Davis said her husband found the body of a drug runner on their ranch in July 2012. And she said her son was robbed by drug traffickers who even pried up the boards on the floor of his house and used his electric clippers to cut their hair. They left their hair on the floor, the county sheriff told Davis, as a sign that they could come and go as they pleased...more

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