Immigration and the Border Crisis: An Open Letter to Cindy

Long title, right?  Fits, though.  Border and immigration crisis topics are hot button topics these days.

Except, as I discovered a few months ago, not everybody gets the picture.  If we turn on the TV and pick  a politically oriented channel, it becomes clear that our elected Republican leaders (led by President Trump) and our elected Democrat leaders (led by House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and others) have diametrically opposing views.  Republicans are frustrated.  Democrats–at least in leadership positions–are obstinate.  For a long time, Democrats didn’t even admit there was a crisis.  Now they will go that far but still seem to feel balking the Republican President, giving him anything that might redound to his benefit politically, deserves higher priority than addressing the issues.

Last January, at a time when most Democrats were still in “there is no crisis” mode, I had a lengthy talk on the phone with a close family member who was driving home from work.  Let’s call her Cindy for the sake of privacy.  Cindy  had fifty tough miles of stormy weather  to cover in subzero conditions on black-ice roads, well after dark.  She was returning my call and, having her cell phone set up hands-free, felt chatting with me might help her keep from falling asleep en route.

Falling asleep while driving near-blind on black ice is probably not a good idea.

Somehow, we ended up talking politics.  This is something we’ve hardly ever done.  There is a great deal of respect and love between us, but politically we’ve never been on the same page.  I’ve voted all over the spectrum, sometimes for the Democrat in my early years, not infrequently as an Independent (think Ross Perot, 1992), and pretty much straight Republican in recent years.  She, on the other hand, has (as far as I know) been a straight-ticket Democrat from Day One.

We talked about the border.  It was the one–the only–specific topic where I felt my personal knowledge was sufficient to go into details.  It would keep her awake for sure.  Among other things, I remember telling her about the number of illegal immigrants Pam (my wife) and I observed when we lived within sight of the border fence in southern Arizona.  For the first year and a half, until the Border Patrol put a portable surveillance unit right near our property, we estimated that an average of 150-200 illegals trekked north through our 20 acres every week. 

They didn’t bother us.  We didn’t bother them.  But we could hear them talking, sometimes see their rare use of flashlights, and in the afternoons I would go out and “scout for sign,” getting an idea from the tracks just how many there’d been.

Cindy made it home safely, yet I was left a bit unsettled. There were a few more details I felt she ought to have.  The following letter, slightly adjusted for privacy reasons prior to publication here, is the result of that mild angst.


Dear Cindy,

After you didn’t pick up the phone at 11:30 a.m. today, I decided to put a little data down in print.  During our chat while you were driving home last night, you asked in essence, “Can it be that bad?”  Yes, it can, and then some.  Economically speaking, there is every reason for a huge percentage of countries south of the Rio Grande to flee north to the USA, no matter the difficulty.

Some of the following numbers are sort of apples and oranges, so the details must be attended, but here goes, leading with numbers gleaned from the Internet–some of which vary a bit according to source.

Note:  As you know, “average” means a lot of people earn much less than that.

  1.  Annual Mexican household average income………………$ 10,188.
  2.  Annual Honduran per capita income………………..$ 580.
  3.  Annual Guatemalan per capita income………………………….$ 1,619.
  4.  Annual Ecquadorian per capita income………….$ 5,364.
  5. Annual U.S. household income (as of June, 2018)…,,,,,….$ 62,175.

To put some of that into human perspective, in some of the poorest Mexican areas,  especially in southern Mexico, the first son born into a family grows up hoping his mother will gift him with many sisters–whom he will control and run as prostitutes, providing the family with most of the little money they will ever have.

We did not talk a lot about the horrible costs, both to the USA and to the innocent seekers of a better life from south of the border.  Again, a brief list:

  •  There is no county in the continental United States that is not paying the price for drugs coming across our southern border.  There are Mexican cartel drugs right here in Deer Lodge, Anaconda, Missoula, and even your small home town, right now.  In many ways, the drug cartels own the country of Mexico.
  •   There are areas of U.S. soil in southern Arizona, some of them quite sizeable,  one of which lies no more than 70 miles west of our Border Fort, where the feds have already given up and invaders rule unmolested.  Want a federal park where the U.S. has now posted signs for Americans to stay out because they are not safe there?  We have that.
  • Coming north, female immigrants (who have already paid thousands of dollars for cartel-approved “coyotes” to smuggle them into the United States)…these women and girls are routinely raped.  There are even “rape trees” (I’ve seen them with my own eyes) where perpetrators proudly hang their victims’ panties as proof of their conquests.
  • Human trafficking is rampant, young women and children smuggled into the U.S., then betrayed into lifelong slavery as prostitutes and/or sweat shop workers, right here within our borders.
  • It is not uncommon for a cartel to require as part of the price of passage that the illegal immigrant work his way north as a drug mule, usually toting an 80 lb. drug pack under terrible conditions.  The desert is a harsh mistress.
  • In our first year down there, Pam and I lost three neighbors to violence from illegals:
  1.  A senior Border Patrol agent, only allowed to fire beanbags under the rules of engagement at the time, gunned down with a rifle actually provided by the U.S. in Operation Fast and Furious–a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firerarms “bright idea” that deliberately allowed more than 2,000 rifles to “disappear” across the border.  They thought they could reel in bigger fish when they did this, but they completely lost track of the weapons, and some of them came back across the border to kill our own people.
  2. A third generation border rancher was gunned down when he approached an illegal lying curled up on his ranch, thinking to help as he’d done many times before.  But the man was faking, uncoiled with a stolen pistol in his hand, and shot both the rancher (in his sixties) and the rancher’s dog.
  3. Just across the border in New Mexico (not all that far from us), there’s a little ghost town that was owned by a man who ran it as a sort of hopeful tourist trap.  He went to check out a report about a possible illegal showing up on the property.  The illegal shot him down.
  • How pervasive is the drug activity?  Beyond words.  Example:  Lionel (fictionalized name), whom I got to know personally a few years prior to his death on the streets of Sierra Vista.  Lionel was a Vietnam vet, had literally been dropped on his head as a baby, and learned to smoke pot in ‘Nam.  At one time, he used to walk along the border fence south of Sierra Vista with an empty lunch box.  He would throw the empty box over the fence and his supplier would throw a packed-to-the-gills box back over the fence to Lionel, providing him with drugs to both use and sell.  Lionel was not overly bright.  He’d done a few years in prison yet always found great pride in boasting about the time he and his supplier drove a small pickup north from the border, tonneau cover on the back, carrying 800 lbs. of drugs.  The little truck was so overloaded, its back end nearly dragged on the ground.
  • One close friend of mine has a son who sold drugs for years.  He was never caught and miraculously got free of the web, but for more than a decade he was in the mix.  (Becoming a father straightened him out.)
  • Here in our home country, millions of what could be American jobs are lost to illegals, many of whom manage or work for businesses that take cash only and pay no taxes, further burdening our economy.  Mexican roofer?  Lawn care?  Restaurant?  You name it, there are Mexican-owned businesses who do it.  Trucking companies aren’t quite as vulnerable because they’re more tightly regulated, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the presence of illegal immigrant drivers in the oil patch had some sort of negative impact on my wages.  It would have to be that way.  Patch drivers are in a pure-competition market.  If you’re good, as I was, you can hold your own.  But would I have been making more per hour if they weren’t there?  Indubitably.
  • The cash runs south, back to their families.  Understandable, even commendable, but again, a great sucking sound from the U.S.  Those billions of dollars are not spent on goods and services within our borders.

Gotta get this in the mail and head for Anaconda.  One final thought:  It seems appropriate that on what would have been my English-teacher mother’s 106th birthday, I’m writing an educational letter to you.

Love always,



It’s been a while since I wrote anything political, in part due to getting sick and tired of comments lacking courtesy.  Which brings me to say:  Feel free to ask questions, express your point of view, whatever you like…as long as it’s reasonably polite.  If you think I’m way off base and wish to discuss the matter, I have no problem with that.  In fact, I encourage it.  On the other hand, any comments that are nothing but attacks will be summarily deleted, with prejudice.

This site is maintained as a place where anyone can hang out without fear.

2 thoughts on “Immigration and the Border Crisis: An Open Letter to Cindy

  1. I can tell you that Gould trucking in Colorado has been in trouble twice for employing illegal immigrants.
    They got caught with illegals on the payroll when I lived in Colorado or maybe shortly after I left.

    Other things about illegals I’m aware of, they come here because “American laws are all a joke and all Americans are so stupid”. I have been told that many times by illegals, probably because I ask questions a lot.
    I have found there are many who come here because they can earn enough money in a few years to build the biggest and best house in the place they came from.

    Others say they are stock piling weapons so they can take everything from California to Colorado and Texas back for Mexico. They claim we stole all that land.

    Yet another group says they don’t have to respect borders because God says they don’t have to, it’s in the Bible.

    The one I hear the least is they moved here so their children could have a better life.

    I’ve been all over the USA and those are the most common things I’ve been told.

    All 3 of these reasons that don’t include having a better life for their kids really concern me, especially the ones who feel we are stupid and don’t enforce our laws.
    Those people come here with no respect for others and do anything they want because they think they’ll just be deported and it’s easy to come back.

    In closing we’ve had a border problem for years AND our politicians don’t care. They too think people are stupid and will vote for them just to keep the “free” stuff coming.

    They might get it for free BUT all Americans are paying for it.

    On another note, while in a hurricane shelter because of Harvey. I spoke with an illegal African man who planned on voting for Hillary because she’s deserving of the presidency and anyone can vote you just have to go do it. It’s not just for citizens. Is what I was told.

  2. Thanks, Mary, for commenting with all that insightful info. Responding “by the numbers.”

    1. Trucking in Colorado. That was where (hauling water to drilling rigs on the west slope) my loaded tanker, headed uphill but stopped with the brakes jammed to the floor, was thumped by an illegal immigrant driver coming downhill–lost control in the mud and jackknifed his trailer over to my side of the gravel road. Owner (small company) roared to his guys’ rescue (two trucks, two drivers), snagged them outa there before law enforcement could show up, and just took the tickets for doing so. Song and dance. We always figured he simply shipped those two guys to drive In Wyoming somewhere. They did NOT have CDLs, just “International Licenses.”

    2. Re “worthless laws & stupid Americans.” Haven’t had those conversations. Illegals would more likely open up about that to you quicker than to me, I’m thinking. But I do know one man who came here illegally (3 times) before getting legal, and despite marrying an American woman and siring a couple of boys (now grown), he’s quite proud of the huge tattoo on his back that says, “100% MADE IN MEXICO.”

    3. Building the “biggest and best” house “back home” seems logical. If I could briefly emigrate to, say, Mars and earn enough in a short time to pay off my Holy Waters Ranch property and build my dream house there, hey, sign me up for the trip!

    4. Am familiar with the “stockpiling weapons” crowd. They have at least one 100% advocate in the House of Representatives, too. With quite a bit of seniority. Nobody can beat him in his District, or at least no one has yet.

    5. God saying they don’t have to respect borders according to the Bible is a new one on me. Not that Scriptures can’t be interpreted to say pretty much anything, much like statistics. The human mind is a wondrously flexible instrument when it’s really put to work.

    6. Of those (illegals) who do “make it” in America, I’ve mostly gotten the impression they were doing it for themselves first and foremost. Helping their offspring to a better future was just part of that package.

    7. No, nothing is free. Your free lunch is my stone-ground wheat.

    8. I’m not surprised to hear about the African illegal who planned to vote for Hillary. When I was living at the Border Fort in southern Arizona, there were credible reports of entire chains of buses that went around collecting homeless people, illegals, anybody willing to vote the way they said in exchange for a free meal–and maybe five bucks, there being some uncertainty about that last part. I never discovered whether they had a “friendly” Precinct with workers willing to overlook the lack of registration (let alone the lack of documentation in many cases), but it looked to me like voter fraud in areas of Tucson (for example) amounted to at least 2%, maybe 3%. If the opponent had a huge lead, oh well, but in a tight race the “buses to the polls” tipped the balance–and in some of those districts, they’re almost always tight races.

    “No voter fraud!” Shout the officials, but vociferous denial is often the wrongdoer’s first line of defense.

    One thing I didn’t mention about the border fence: Where we lived, no, it didn’t stop the illegals from crossing–but it did stop VEHICLES from crossing and also SLOWED DOWN the climbing humans, giving Border Patrol agents a fighting chance. And of course the scornful ones are right in a way. Some of us are stupid, too many existing laws are not enforced, and reworking the laws to match today’s conditions seems to be impossible for the “hate the other party” (or even just the “hate the President) bunch.

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