During this highly politicized period in America, most people have lost interest in illegal immigration and smuggling along the southern border. For the people living along the border, especially in Arizona and Texas, illegal immigration, smuggling and violence along their borders is a daily topic. Visit any small town with a small mom and pop type business and engage in conversation with the customers. You will find the subject quickly turning from the economy to conditions along the border.
I have a long history with and connection to the southwestern United States. My first encounter with traveling through the southwestern states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California was in the mid fifties when my parents made their first trip from Indiana to California. We had a great time stopping at all of the tourist areas along the way. A large part of US Rt 66 was still present and we traveled through most of the small cities and towns along this historic route. People were friendly and happy to see folks from other parts of the country that were traveling through or visiting their state. Everywhere you stopped people were happy and excited to engage in conversation. It wasn't because they just wanted to sell their products. They truly enjoyed talking and exchanging their views on what it was like living in different parts of the country. As time progressed most of the small towns were bypassed by the interstate system and the cities grew so large that small business along these areas dried up and went away.
As a teenager living and going to school in southern California, I became very familiar with border towns in Mexico along the California and Arizona borders. Illegal immigration and drug smuggling was not a problem. Immigration from Mexico was mostly a seasonal thing. Immigrants were mostly Mexicans that came to harvest the vegetables and would return home after the harvesting season ended. For the most part Mexican people were happy to live in Mexico. The borders were open and Americans visited regularly, spending dollars in Mexico. Today this has all changed.
As American cities like Phoenix, Tuscon and El Paso began to expand Americans started to spend more of their dollars in America. As political corruption and drugs increased in Mexico, violence also increased. Unfortunately while the American economy grew, the Mexican economy collapsed. This forced more of the Mexican people to look north for a better way of life. As long as our economy was growing we could accommodate the growth in illegal immigration, at least until it became a flood of illegal immigrants. When the recession hit America tax revenues dropped and cities became overburdened with the high cost of illegals receiving aid from the state. Adding to the problem the dug industry in Mexico became the number one industry in Mexico. Due to the size and location of America with Mexico, we became the number one importers of illegal drugs from Mexico.
Unfortunately it is not only drugs being smuggled into America, we have now become the number one target for human smuggling from Mexico. People from all parts of the world are being smuggled into America from Mexico. After the attack of Sept. 11, 2001 the American government became concerned and changed the primary mission of the U. S. Border Patrol. They now play a more active role in preventing terrorist from crossing undetected into America from our Southern and Northern borders. Do we have a reason to be concerned, yes.
Talking to Americans living along our southern borders I discovered they have no grudge or animosity toward the Mexican people. A large percentage of American residents have some connection to Mexico. It could be from marriage, ancestral heritage, or just daily encounters with friends of Mexican heritage. The one thing they all have in common, they place their American values, traditions and heritage above ancestral ties.
It seems the current American government under the present Democrat leadership doesn't understand what the people are saying. With the murders of two Border Patrol agents (1 in 2008 and 1 in 2009) plus a rancher in 2010 living on the Arizona border, residents have had enough. I know from experience that at one time it was relatively safe to explore the deserts, mountain regions and parks along our southern borders. Today this is not so. The fact that the U. S. government has found it necessary to place warning signs along trails speaks volumes. The U. S. government would have you believe that the illegal activity along the border has decreased in recent years but to residents living along the border experiencing crime and violence, it has not gotten better. When people are afraid to venture out at night on their own property or travel the pubic roads along the border at night, something is terribly wrong.
With over 28,000 drug related deaths in Mexico since 2006 how much longer can we expect to be safe from the violence crossing our borders? While it may be true that due to the recession the numbers of illegals looking for work in the U. S. has decreased, it is also true the drug cartels have increased their efforts to smuggle drugs into the U. S. They have increased threats against law enforcement agencies along the border and also threatened residents that may help law enforcement.
While the American economy will dominate the midterm elections in America, the illegal immigration along our southern borders will also be in the minds of voters. It is not resentment for the Mexican people that is driving the debate over what to do about the problem. It is resentment toward the Federal Government for doing nothing that is driving the debate.For the past few years I have visited the southern border separating the United States and Mexico. This is what I discovered. What I saw and heard comes from not only my personal observations, but from talking with everyday people living along the border.