Arizona Ranchers and Border Security

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Arizona ranchers in Southern Arizona are asking state and government officials for help to secure the border. Patrick Bray, from the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, talks about what they think should be done.

José Cárdenas: The murder of rancher Robert Krentz in southern Arizona brought together ranchers and their -- to improve border security. They recently released a plan called restore our border. We will hear -- joining me is Patrick Bray from the Arizona cattlemen's association to talk about the plan. Welcome to "Horizonte."

José Cárdenas: We start this interview just after finishing a rather spirited debate about senate bill 1070. So before I don't into anything, has your association taken the position on this legislation?

Patrick Bray: No. We have not. We feel that it's a distraction to what we're trying to accomplish, which is to restore the border.

José Cárdenas: And had it been in effect, would it have had any impact on the killing or preventing the death of Robert Krentz?

Patrick Bray: No. The problem is right there at our international boundary. And that's where our plan focuses, and that's where we've got to focus all the items in our plan.

José Cárdenas: Let's talk about that plan. How did it come into being?

Patrick Bray: 18 months prior to march 27th, several of our folks had been working with border patrol, with several different attorneys in the area that prosecute illegal immigration cases and that type of stuff. And they've been trying to figure out what it is that they needed to do to secure the border. On March 27th the death of Robert Krentz kind of accelerated this plan. And it was time to go. And so right there after, we received the plan, started going through it, reviewing it, and we decided that it was time to launch the plan to secure the border.

José Cárdenas: Let's talk about the conditions that gave birth to the plan. As you pointed out, the sad death of Robert Krentz was not what started the plan, but gave it impetus. Before that, what were the concerns?

Patrick Bray: Well, I think these people in southern Arizonas are ranchers, and several of the communities have been living with this situation of utter lawlessness down there. And it is criminal forces that have control over our border, and so these people were just tired and they were ready to take action and do something. And so they started working on that plan on the ground level. And they took 18 months, they did the research, they found the facts, the cases, and incidents of burglaries, home invasions, all of that, and they put it into this 18-point plan of how they could restore the border and secure it.

José Cárdenas: So the concern is not with 16-year-olds driving their mother or grandmother who may not have papers to church, but rather with some of the drug trafficking and human smuggling that's been occurring in increasing numbers at the border?

Patrick Bray: Yes. This is a completely lawless area. It is controlled by criminal forces. There's a foreign invasion here. These are cartels that are moving drugs and humans across the border. These aren't people looking for work. It is a totally different world down there in southern Arizona along the border. And it's pure crimes. One of the ranchers down there has since 2003 has had 18 burglaries and three home invasions. Three home invasions.

José Cárdenas: Give us an overview of the 18-point plan.

Patrick Bray:What the 18-point plan does is it just goes through some points, one, we focus on securing the border. That is our ultimate goal. And when we say secure the border, we want to put resources right on the international boundary. So border patrol that's in Casa Grande or on the I-tone Phoenix doesn't do us any good. We have to take those people and put them right there on the international boundary. And until we can get those people caught up, we've talked about putting the national guard down there, putting U.S. military forces down there to restore order. And we have to then get border patrol and law enforcement up to speed so they can start working alongside with them. Some of the other things is communication down there. Our ranchers are -- don't have the luxury of using their cell phones. And they often have to do work alone fixing fences, checking waters, cattle. And so it's a crucial item to them that they do have some type of cell phone Service or communication Service when they're out doing their work because it is such a dangerous situation down there. We also have to work on the communication across the federal agencies, the local law enforcement, so when they are in pursuit of people moving across that border, they can work together to apprehend these folks.

José Cárdenas: Now, Patrick, when we talked about putting military on the border, what are you thinking of? Are we going to have brigades- what kind of presence?

Patrick Bray: Our folks tell us that the national guard did well down there when they were there last time. And that's one of the things we're calling for, is the national guard to go back down there. And we want them to have full law enforcement authorities so they can apprehend people. Not just report to border patrol, where some of these illegals are crossing, and drug smugglers, but actually stop and apprehend these folks at the border.

José Cárdenas: Let me ask you a few questions about some of the specifics. One of them is to if add teeth to the pursuit and apprehension policy. What does that mean?

Patrick bray: Well, if you look at the border situation now, closer to the towns, they tell us that they have minutes to apprehend someone. As you move out into the country and into these ranches where Robert Krentz was, it takes days before they can actually start pursuits. So we want the law enforcement folks down there closer to the border and then to be able to pursue these people and have them apprehended and caught before they make it into our cities.

José Cárdenas: Patrick, I'm so sorry, but we're out of time. Perhaps we'll have you back to talk about how this is going at a later date. Thank you.

Patrick Bray:Arizona Cattlemen's Association;

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