Jim Chilton is a fifth-generation rancher in Arizona that finds himself on the front lines of the battle of border security and illegal immigration. He and his wife, Sue live it daily.
The rancher owns and tends to a 50,000-acre ranch situated on the U.S.-Mexico border and his property has become a hotspot for illegal aliens crossing into the country. Unlike the heavily fortified border fence in Arizona, the only barriers separating the Chilton ranch from the Mexican border are four strands of rusty barbed wire strung along steel posts.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Chilton states that: “Although he respects the Border Patrol agents in the region, he said, he doesn’t understand why they won’t fortify and build a substantial border fence along the Arivaca region, including the five miles of international boundary alongside his ranch.
“It’s inhumane, he said, to allow border crossers to walk in easily through the border, putting their lives at risk from cold nights and hot days. Many are apprehended farther inland anyway.
“The border should be secured at the border,” he said.” “The couple lament a recently shuttered Border Patrol outpost, the agency’s only significant presence in that area. The outpost, which operated near the ranch, was closed because of budget cuts.
“The couple have even offered to lease 20 acres of their land — about 500 yards from the border — to Border Patrol officials for $1 a year for an outpost. They said the government had not taken them up on the offer.” The couple states they believe in some sort of guest worker program similar to the federal program previously in place in the 1940s when temporary Mexican laborers were legally allowed to work in the United States. There were no cartels to pay. No human traffickers. No dying in the desert.
At least two neighboring ranchers have chosen to leave rather than continue to fight in the last few years because of just how dangerous the border security situation has gotten. However, the Chiltons state they intend to stay on their land, though it has proven very costly for them to do so.
The cost of maintaining water lines, as well as the international fence to repair it from all the slashing and trampling it undergoes, costs them thousands of dollars in repairs.
Sue states: “We have to maintain the fence or the cattle would all go to Mexico, y no habla español.”
“She gazed out at the trails on the other side of the measly fence, which stretches 15 miles east until it hooks up with an actual border wall in Nogales. She pointed out a network of trails that scar a hill on the Mexican side. It zigzags, leading toward the international fence on the Chilton’s ranch,” reports the LA Times.
“It’s almost as though we have ceded a swath of this United States of America… It has been ceded to operational control of the cartels,” she said.”