Another Open Letter to Obama…this one from the residents in Eastern Arizona on their border situationby Hugh Holub on May. 16, 2011, under border issues, politics
This Open Letter to Obama was written by Dinah Davidson of Portal. The folks living around Portal are in one of the most dangerous drug smuggling corridors on the border…over by the Chiricahua Mountains in Cochise County which is called the ” Chiricahua-Peloncillo drug and human smuggling corridor” :
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Copies to: The Honorable Gabrielle Giffords, Senator John McCain, Senator Jon Kyl, Secretary (of Homeland Security) Janet Napolitano, Secretary (of Agriculture) Tom Vilsack, Secretary (of State) Hillary Clinton, Governor Jan Brewer, NPR.
Dear President Obama:
It is with great wonderment and sadness that we listened to your May 10 speech on immigration issues. All of the joking about moats and alligators cut residents of Portal, AZ, to the core as we sheltered with friends or at a Red Cross evacuation site, to survive a terrible fire that still threatens our lives and property, as well as our ecotourism-based economy.
Like last spring’s ‘Horseshoe Fire’, fought in SE Arizona at a cost of more than $10 million, ‘Horseshoe Fire 2’ was ignited by humans along a well-established route used by human and drug smugglers high in Horseshoe Canyon, about 50 miles north of Mexico. This fire burned catastrophically in an environment stressed by the worst drought this region has ever recorded, and 50 mph winds have propelled it through whole mountain valleys in a heartbeat. During its first 24-hrs, the fire consumed a greater area than did last year’s fire over a 6-week period. Local residents were roused after midnight, and some slept fitfully in cars after fleeing with family photos and any valuables that could be quickly assembled. Elderly retirees left with medical supplies, including oxygen tanks on which some depend.
Thinking about this in the context of your own loved ones, does this account strike you as a description of security? We can personally attest to the fact that neither the border nor daily life is secure for members of our community. Seizure of record quantities of drugs may pad the statistics of Homeland Security, but it does nothing to ease the burdens we have been forced to bear. Over the years, as our homes have been burgled or invaded, our fences, water lines and windows repeatedly broken, our businesses driven toward bankruptcy, our natural surroundings desecrated by trash and fire, and our lives even obliterated (neighbor Rob Krentz, murdered by a drug scout), it has amazed us how little note is taken of these tragedies by our government and the press. Is it enough, now that we have suffered back-to-back fires that threaten to erase our very reasons for living here? What must we say or do to garner your attention and help? How is it that, on the same day we took Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, we could not prevent illegals – 50 miles within our borders (!) – from setting a fire along a known smuggling route in an extremely dry year? Why were federal agents (BP, ICE, National Guard, or Special Forces) not posted along this route in anticipation of a repeat of last year’s calamity? Better still, why were the illegals not captured before they had traveled 50 miles north of the border?! Or, in the eyes of our government, do we just reside in a ‘sacrifice zone’?
The region where we live is not just our personal homeland but a repository for much of the nation’s biological diversity. Naturalists from all over the world come here to study at the American Museum’s SWRS field station, or just to observe, but year after year, less natural habitat survives to accommodate them. For them and for ourselves, watching this environment collapse is akin to watching a beloved family member die.
All of Arizona’s highly biodiverse ‘Sky (Mountain) Islands’ are in jeopardy and for the same reason – fires set by drug and human smugglers. (For other examples, you might ask your Agriculture Secretary about the Santa Rita range south of Tucson, and the Sierritas, west of that, and also on fire at this moment.) Moreover, the country itself is in jeopardy of losing not just the extraordinary biological patrimony represented in these mountain ranges, but (extrapolating over a century or two) the U.S. territory itself. If this strikes you as hyperbole, what Americans do you know who would choose to remain in lands so tragically depleted?
We therefore wish to know what you plan to do to protect our constitutional right (Article IV, section IV) to defense from foreign invasions, especially as this regards fires set by Mexican drug and human smugglers. We thank you in advance for your anticipated response.
The following residents of the Chiricahua-Peloncillo drug and human smuggling corridor: