It seems like as each day passes, I’m left with more questions than answers.
On Sunday we traveled to Arivaca for mass. Through the windy roads, passing miles of mountainous desert, we arrived at little Arivaca. A church. A bar. A cafe.
Inside of the small country church, the locals chatted, welcoming the new faces as we walked in, inviting us to join the empty choir. Our group of 20 consisted of almost a third of the people. With two baptisms and a First Holy Communion, this was a larger crowd than the church saw most Sundays.
Arivaca. A town surrounded by miles of land, about 20 miles from the border. Cattle roam freely, border patrol always watching. Some came here to retire, to get away. Others owned or ranched acres upon acres of land handed down over generations.
Following mass we were invited to join the parishioners in their weekly potluck. Through conversation, it didn’t take long for me to realize the people here felt differently about immigration than many of the others we’ve talked to. Phrases like “Build the wall” and “increase border patrol” rang in the conversations. One woman looked at me, tears in her eyes, and said “I’ve seen one too many bloody murders on my land.”
After the potluck we drove five minutes to the home of two of the parishioners and local ranchers, Sue and Jim. Their western style home sat on 50 thousand acres of land.
We were greeted by several pairs of camo-printed slippers lining the walkway to the front entrance of the home. We later were told that these were the carpet slippers drug packers wore to cover their tracks. These were just a small sample of what Jim and Sue had discovered on their land.
As some set up cameras for the interview, Jim showed the rest of us footage he gathered from the three cameras randomly set up around his property, moving them every couple of weeks. We watched as caravans of men dressed in camo carried large square shaped backpacks past the hidden cameras. These were drug packers. Jim and Sue’s land was prime territory for drugs to pass over as for 25 miles there was no wall on the border of their land.
In Sue’s interview she shared a number of her views according to her experiences over the years. Sue explained the drug cartels as a multi-billion dollar market.
“The ones coming over aren’t looking for jobs, the have jobs carrying drugs with good compensation,” Sue said. “There’s always been contraband, but it hasn’t always been blood thirsty drug cartel.”
- Put a wall up, get it highly secured and get a road parallel to the border. Communication needs to be increased. You can have all the border patrol in the world, but if it’s in the wrong locations, it’s not effective.
- Get a worker permit program and a legal worker program that is readable and doesn’t take five years to get through.A big amnesty program isn’t the answer.
Sue explained they’re land isn’t a safe worker entry. People need a safe port of entry. If workers were legal and had documents, they would have rights as a worker. Without these documents, they have no rights and therefore no way of acting against their mistreatment.
I knew immigration was a complex issue, but the more I learn, the more complicated it becomes.