Sunday, January 03, 2010

Southern Arizona Border Issues

The issues of border security are well know by those that live along the borders, not well know to most others in the nation.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Park borders Mexico -- over 30 miles of common border. Because of the nature of a national park and those that administer it, animal migration trumps political boundaries. At the Lukeville border crossing (pictured), there is a real fence over 15 feet high. Beyond that, you run into a Normandy-style fence.

Border fences designed to keep out vehicles and other designed to control pedestrians.

To the east of Organ Pipe Cactus National Park is the main portion of the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. The Indian Nation has not done a job at securing its border with Mexico. In all fairness to them, the international boundary actually bisects their native lands. Some have no proof of birth and find it challenging to access the Nation's medical and economic facilities in Sells, AZ, due to the border. It was not too long ago that the fence was single strand of barbed wire for cattle control.

The Mexican know these weaknesses. They can move large amounts of drugs across the border on the backs of human couriers. They can strap 80 pound packs ladened with drugs on the backs of the human pack-mules. They can cross the border undetected and rendezvous with their partners deep within the Sonoran desert (as well as the Chihuahuan desert).

The US border patrol has its work cut out for it. Environmentalists and Native American leaders are reluctantly doing their parts.

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