Border issue no longer a bright political divide
Tim Steller Arizona Daily Star
Fewer people are crossing Arizona’s border from Mexico.
Fewer “criminal aliens” are being sent to Arizona’s prisons.
More officers are patrolling Arizona’s southern frontier.
The number of illegal immigrants in Arizona has declined by 100,000 or more.
Yet border security and illegal immigration are the hottest topic in Arizona’s politics this year, returning the state to the center of a national debate.
But there still is action along Arizona’s border. Judd points to the Huachuca Mountains, the corridor near the Chiricahua Mountains and some routes through the Tohono O’odham Nation as hot spots.
Rancher and cowboy poet Bud Strom is out on his property near the southern end of the Huachucas daily, and he says the illegal traffic has slowed dramatically in the year or so since the federal government finished a nearby 18-foot-high border fence. Pedestrian crossings of his ranch, which he had estimated at 1,000 per week, have dwindled to 50 to 100, Strom said. Vehicles no longer cross there.
“But it still ticks me off that they leave trash on the ranch,” he said.
While Strom counts crossers by the dozens, Pam Saxman and her husband can count incidents on one hand in the four years since they moved from central Tucson to the remote hills in the western Avra Valley. Someone tried to steal a horse once, and recently a group of 40 people approached their home, about 70 miles north of the border. Still, that irks her.
“I don’t think any of it’s tolerable,” she said.
[I’ll bet it was a sunny day when the Arizona Daily Star hired Tim Stellar.]