Is the Border Secure? Ranchers Say No


A supporter of immigration reform, Chilton knows the numbers are down from their peak three years ago, and agrees that an increase in border patrol agents and equipment, plus 650 miles of steel fence are working in the major border towns ... but not where he lives, surrounded by wilderness.

"I live in no man's land," Jim Chilton said of his 50,000 acre ranch that sits along the U.S.-Mexico border. "I have to protect myself."

"Because there are so many patrol people along the walls, it protects people in the town of Nogales, El Paso, San Diego. And crime is down in those areas. Why? Because every third person has a uniform," Chilton said. "And no cartel businessman is going to try and funnel drugs or have people climb over walls in that area. No, they come through here."

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from February found that most apprehensions, 38%, and drug seizures, 28%, occur in the Tucson sector, which includes the Chilton ranch.

Jim Chilton's eyewitness account is important because the biggest sticking point for immigration reform remains border security.

"I think we should close the border and initiate dramatic immigration reform," he said. "We need a system where people can be employed, show papers, and employers respect the law and hire only documented people."

Tonight in Arizona another agreeing hand is raised by a rancher also on the front line of the immigration battle.

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