Since the Clinton administration dismantled immigration enforcement, unleashing a flood of illegal immigrants and crime across our borders, we in Cochise County have begged for relief.
We formed groups so our politicians would better hear us. We were labeled racists, nativists, xenophobes, crackpots and vigilantes.
We met with Attorney General Terry Goddard, Reps. Jeff Flake, Jim Kolbe, James Sensenbrenner, John Shadegg and Jim Hayworth. We met with the Border Patrol and the Sheriff’s Office. We wrote President Clinton, Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain, and we begged for action.
We suffered burglaries, vandalism, threats, car thefts and assaults, and our children were sexually propositioned at school bus stops. We had home invasions and vacant homes trashed and used as stash houses.
We testified before congressional committees, wrote articles, gave interviews to newspaper and radio journalists and appeared on TV, including Telemundo and Azteca.
Our pastures were set on fire, our livestock killed, our dogs poisoned. We were sued by ethnic identity groups and threatened by our own government for violations of the civil rights of illegal immigrant thugs.
We were crushed by President Bush’s “good-hearted folks” speech and his attempt to legalize the very thugs who made our lives so miserable.
We met with Mexican Sen. Jeffrey Jones from the state of Chihuahua hoping for some help from south of the border. Our pleas were answered when Jones went to Mexico City and told Mexican Presidente Vicente Fox that we want to shoot Mexicans.
We gave Rep. Tom Tancredo (God bless him) a tour of the border and met with him for several days, praying for some federal action. We gave border tours to Pat Buchanan, Bay Buchanan, Ken Hamblin, Sean Hannity, Rep. Steve King and countless foreign journalists.
We participated in documentaries showing the debris and destruction wrought by smugglers and drug traffickers.
We secured our homes with burglar bars and barbed wire. We were afraid to venture out at night or leave our homes unprotected.
The local highways at night were a nightmare of speeding vehicles running without lights, loaded with drugs and people.
Finally, the Border Patrol was beefed up, and what passes for a fence was built.
Illegal immigrants and drugs continue to pour in. A drug war has erupted south of our border. Thousands have died. We look anxiously to the south expecting more carnage and lawlessness.
Now President Obama is pushing for amnesty to legalize the thugs who recognize no law that curtails their activities. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is dismantling interior enforcement, which will unleash yet another tidal wave of humanity coming north to await Obama’s expected amnesty.
For more than 12 years, we have fought, bled, spent our money, begged, sacrificed and cried.
Now we have a freshman congressman coming to hear the pleas we raised over a decade ago. We still have vandalism, drug smuggling, violence and lawlessness. We are still ignored by the government whose charge it is to protect us. We still have politicians seeking to reward those who have victimized us. Ethnic identity groups are still threatening us.
Somebody please tell me. What have we accomplished and where is the relief we deserve?
Dave Stoddard lives on the border in Cochise County. He retired after 27 years with the U.S. Border Patrol.