People outside Arizona may not really understand what’s happening

Yes, racist loonies are using Arizona border problems to justify their madness and must be opposed. The new immigration law is repressive, targets the wrong people, and will solve little if anything. However, the problems in Arizona are extremely serious. Areas inside of Arizona now are now war zones where competing drug cartels fight. These areas extend deeply into Arizona, it’s no longer just at the border. This is not hyperbole or exaggeration by racists. This is what’s happening now.

Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge AZ showing closed area. “The concentration of illegal activity, surveillance and law enforcement interdictions make these zones dangerous. Closure is in effect until further notice.”

From Mexico’s Drug War, written by Sylvia Longmire, “Former USAF officer and senior intelligence analyst, specializing in Latin America and Mexico’s drug war.” I’ve followed her blog for a while. She’s quite level-headed, but this angered her.

Portion of US wildlife refuge closed due to violent border activity.

The sad part about this story is that it’s not actually a story, and it’s not even remotely news (in the sense that it’s a recent occurrence). While exchanging emails with a reader this afternoon, he emailed me a document that sent me through the roof. It’s a 2006 notice from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, advising the general public that a portion of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona had been closed to the public because it had been “adversely affected by border-related activities.”

I’m frustrated that many politicians and federal government officials can breezily claim that border violence spillover isn’t happening, and the US side of the border is as safe as it’s ever been. Yet, we hear stories like the one I posted about earlier today from the Pinal County Sheriff, who says he has no control over portions of his own county. And I read and hear countless stories from ranchers on the US side of the border who constantly deal with armed Mexican thugs on their property who like to break into innocent people’s homes and rob them at gunpoint. Then I read this – which our government has obviously known about for some time – and it sends me through the roof. Why hasn’t this still-in-effect closure been widely reported in the news? More importantly, why has the security situation in one of our own wildlife refuges been allowed to get so out of hand that we’ve ceded control to drug and human smugglers, and just outright closed it to public access?

Pinal County Sheriff: Mexican drug cartels now control parts of Arizona.

Sometimes people point to a few sheriffs in border counties and say they’re just being paranoid. However, this county is not even along the border – it’s three counties in and roughly 80 miles from Arizona’s border with Mexico. Even more disturbing is this image I was sent this morning of a sign posted along mile marker 150 of Interstate 8 by the US Bureau of Land Management:

I-8 is a major Interstate highway. Mile 150 is 20-30 miles north of the border. Sue and I have driven it recently. That sign wasn’t there two months ago.

In the following video, the sheriff says his forces are out-manned and out-gunned. Further, the out-of-control area extends from the border to Phoenix.

We need a sane border policy and most of all, we need to legalize marijuana, as that’s where most of the cartel’s profits come from.


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