I live in Rio Rico, Arizona, which is about 16 miles north of the USA’s border with Mexico.
Where, recently, on a sunny Sunday morning during a walk with my dogs in the usually tranquil Santa Cruz River Valley below my home, I heard the drone of an airplane.
Irritated, I looked up to see a Border Patrol (BP) plane drop down to circle a mile or so south of a Union Pacific Railroad crossing.
At once, I knew a drama would soon unfold. Sure enough, within 15 minutes, three BP vans sped up.
Nervously, I called my dogs to come sit by my side.
My dogs and I then watched as BP vans bumped south on the dirt road alongside the Union Pacific railroad tracks that lead to Mexico.
A short time later, a BP van emerged out of clouds of dust to cough up its catch: two small, brown-skinned men, who were clearly terrified.
As I watched two muscular BP officers literally pick up and toss those two men, one at a time, into a van, I almost threw up.
But I also found myself tallying up the costs of using the airplane and the three vans, plus the salaries of a pilot and the six BP agents.
I’m certain the BP spent many thousands of dollars to nab those two scared, outrageously abused men.
During the fourteen years I’ve lived here in Rio Rico, the BP’s budget has more than quintupled, while the BP’s slick public relations shills keep assuring me that those billions are being spent well.
But I’m not convinced, because of how the Border Patrol manipulates its statistics.
For example, when the Border Patrol boasts about its annual 500,000 “apprehensions” here in the Tucson Sector where I live, its “apprehensions” of border trespassers are likely to be as few as 125,000 of “unique” human beings.
That’s because the BP surely knows that most of its “apprehensions” it tosses back into Mexico turn right around to try again, most often the very next day.
I know this to be true on the ground, because the migrants I meet and greet down in my river valley are often the BP “apprehensions.”
Some have told me that when they are nabbed again, BP agents have actually addressed them by their first names.
Still, the Border Patrol has been amazingly successful using its “funny math.” It keeps reporting only “apprehensions,” because doing so reaps it heaps of still more Federal money.
However, lingering in my mind is a survey done by the University of California.
Its study surveyed 603 migrants – all of them from Jalisco or Zacatecas, two Mexican states from which many “illegals” seem to erupt.
The university’s survey found that 92 percent of the Jalisqueños and Zacatecans said that they’d made it back here within five tries, while “only 8 percent failed to return and went back home.”
That statistic makes the Border Patrol’s claim that its border enforcement has become “effective” seem false to me.
And what of those two frightened, desperate fellows whose brutal capture I witnessed?
When those two captured fellows were returned to Mexico, did they try to cross again the next morning?
Well of course, they did!
With a 92 percent guarantee of success, I surely would.