Arizona Cattle Growers demand action on border - Douglas Dispatch

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                            <h1>Arizona Cattle Growers demand action on
border
                       <div></div></h1>

                                  <p class="credits">
                                  BY SHAR PORIER<br />Wick News
Service<br>
                                        Published/Last Modified on
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 5:39 PM MDT<br />
                             </p>
                                        <br/>
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                         <p>BISBEE â€&#8221; “Talk is over, time to
act. We demand action.―</p>
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           The Arizona Cattle Growers Association offered the statement
in an 18-point proposal presented to the public and lawmakers Tuesday
afternoon in Phoenix. With the recent killing of Cochise County heritage
rancher Robert Krentz, possibly by an illegal immigrant, the association
has determined that direction is needed to arrive at a reasonable,
effective solution.<BR /><BR />“I believe this proposal has brought the
problem to the forefront. Now, our legislators are asking to meet with
us,― a determined association public spokesman Patrick Bray said in an
interview. “We may see some quick actions on a few of the points, but
we won’t rest until all are accomplished.―<BR /><BR />Gov. Jan Brewer
met with ranchers late Tuesday to discuss their concerns and she agrees
the illegal activity has gone on for too long. “Arizona roads and open
spaces have become thoroughfares for illegal alien traffic and smuggling
operations â€&#8221; drugs, arms and humans,― she stated in a news
release. “Recently, an Arizona rancher in southeastern Cochise County
was shot and killed, with evidence suggesting the crime was part of
border-related criminal activity. I visited the area, and I’ve seen
firsthand what needs to be done.―<BR /><BR />Over the past 18 months,
members of the cattle association have been compiling information from
research and interviews to offer potential solutions to this growing
border violence problem.<BR /><BR />The plan states, “The U.S./Mexico
border in southern Arizona has become a lawless region. Criminals,
bandits and an international organized crime unit are operating with
impunity in the region â€&#045; These entities are extremely violent and
dangerous and they have now succeeded in creating terror in Southern
Arizona as they have in northern Mexico.―<BR /><BR />One of the first
suggestions is to inform the media and the public about the uniqueness
and remoteness of border ranch lands. The sheer openness of these
unpopulated areas provide a wide corridor for human and drug smugglers.
Illegal border crossers who rob, damage fences, run drugs and vandalize
homes present a threat that needs to be addressed in the media without
making the ranchers look like hot heads, the group said. The current
dangerous situation is not a contrivance â€&#8221; it’s real when taken
in the context that people who want to do harm to the U.S. can just as
easily cross illegally as a Honduran worker looking for a better life.<BR
/><BR />“We are hoping the media will keep the story alive and cover
these issues,” Bray said. “I don’t think the public understands
what the people on the border face day-to-day.”<BR /><BR />“The U.S.
Arizona/Mexico border is out of control,― the ranchers continued.
“Achieving immediate border security is the most critical success
factor in protecting U.S. citizens from smuggling and the extensive
amount of criminal acts caused by it. The unacceptable risks associated
with not knowing who crosses the border poses a grave threat and
increases the vulnerability to a likely terrorist attack. The political
and lengthy immigration debate is a serious distraction in the battle to
credibly secure the border.―<BR /><BR />Members of the group say
cumulative financial costs have become intolerable and could increase
consumer costs and ranch failures.<BR /><BR />Cochise County Supervisor
Richard Searle said in an interview, “We have had this problem for
years. The government has known of these problems for years. We even
called a state of emergency down here a few years ago. But, you have to
remember that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jon Kyl
are just three out of 500 legislators. It gets frustrating. We have been
beating this drum and no one takes it seriously. We went to Washington,
but they didn’t have a clue. They didn’t care.―<BR /><BR />Giffords
met with ranchers recently in the county to talk about the situation.
Last week, she wrote to executives of AT&T and Verizon Wireless to
establish communications towers in the unserved area of eastern Cochise
County.<BR /><BR />“In my discussions with ranchers since the murder of
Mr. Krentz, the lack of reliable cell phone service has been brought up
again and again. They told us that one of the most important steps that
must be taken is to improve electronic communication in the area. They
let us know how fearful they and their families have become as a result
of the murder of their friend and neighbor,― Giffords wrote.<BR /><BR
/>Giffords, Sen. John McCain, Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano and the Obama administration called for National Guard troops
to help at the border, not only due to Krentz’s murder, but to address
the high crime the eastern portion of the county is experiencing from
suspected illegal immigrants.<BR /><BR />State Treasurer Dean Martin, who
is running for governor, stood in support of the ranchers’ ideas and
said, “It is unacceptable that our borders have been allowed to become
so porous that criminals can operate with near impunity and that lives
and properties are literally at stake.―<BR /><BR />Martin heaps blame
on Brewer for not taking action and on former Gov. Napolitano for vetoing
a request to deploy the National Guard and put radar camera equipment and
a physical fence along the border. “â€&#045; I urge state and federal
leaders to act upon the cattle growers’ plan immediately. These are
reasonable measures. It’s time to set politics aside and do what’s
right for the people of Arizona.―<BR /><BR />However, Brewer is taking
a strong stand.<BR /><BR />“With regard to border security, I am not
taking ‘No,’ for an answer from the federal government. I’ve
written President Obama and repeated my numerous requests for additional
troops. I will not accept the notion that border security is a
responsibility of Arizona and the other border states, but I will do what
is necessary to protect this great state if additional federal assistance
is not forthcoming.― She did not elaborate on what measures she could
or would take if the feds fail to come through. Though calls were made
to Giffords, McCain, DHS and the Border Patrol, none had an opportunity
to review the proposal and so reserved comment for the time being.<BR
/><BR />Arizona Cattle Growers Association’s 18-point plan to restore
border security includes:<BR /><BR />• Judicial and law enforcement
systems shall recognize and apply an enforcement mechanism to prosecute
those entering the U.S illegally as felons and bar them from ever working
or receiving residency visa status in the U.S.<BR /><BR />• Immediately
deploy the military to the Arizona/Mexico border.<BR /><BR />•
Establish permanent forward operating bases adjacent to the border with
one every twelve miles.<BR /><BR />• Overhaul and add teeth to the
pursuit and apprehension policies for law enforcement to assure
deterrence and protect U.S. residents and state authorities from
potential harm.<BR /><BR />• Authorize the use of force in the
interdiction of vehicles and aircraft illegally crossing the border.<BR
/><BR />• Enforce existing laws without exception. Streamline and
expedite deportation of illegal aliens.<BR /><BR />• Add 3,000 Border
Patrol agents to the force along Arizona’s border by 2011.<BR /><BR
/>• Increase funding for the Stonegarden Program and make it
permanent.<BR /><BR />• Expedite deployment of modern digital radio
technology to the Arizona/New Mexico border.<BR /><BR />• Substantially
increase Border Patrol mobile surveillance units and operators.<BR /><BR
/>• Deploy air support on or near the border with Mexico.<BR /><BR
/>• Establish mandatory cellular coverage for remote non-service
areas.<BR /><BR />• Fund and increase more mounted patrols on the
border.<BR /><BR />• Establish a single border patrol sector comprised
of Willcox to Douglas in Arizona and Lordsburg, New Mexico into its own
sector.<BR /><BR />• Streamline federal claims processes for recovering
damages caused by illegal aliens burglaries, vandalism and ranch
infrastructure and livestock losses, including fires.<BR /><BR />•
Adequately fund state and federal attorney’s offices to assure timely
prosecution of border-related offenders. Stiffen prosecutorial
immigration and narcotics policies.<BR /><BR />• Measure success of the
programs through a monthly disclosure of all crimes suspected and
committed by illegal alien activities. Establish operational transparency
for Arizona residents of the illegal activities in their respective
sectors to include county law enforcement statistics and incidents.
<br clear="all">
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