Diary

The Price of Border Insecurity

By Randy Pullen

The murder of rancher Robert Krenz this last week on his ranch in southern Arizona, by a suspected Mexican drug dealer or human trafficker (Coyote) tracked back to the nearby Mexican border, was a tragedy in the making for 10 years. Many of us who have been directly involved with attempting to bring illegal immigration under control along the southern border feared this day would come.

Mr. Krentz and his family are well known along the border as hard-working, God-fearing Americans with hearts of gold. Their property has constantly felt the pressure of tens of thousands of illegal aliens crossing in their migration north. Yet they had continued to act as good Samaritans, helping those who were in distress with food and water.

The pro-illegal immigration crowd would have us believe Mr. Krentz’s murder is merely the result of increased border violence. They refuse to see any connection to the tens of millions of illegal aliens who have crossed our southern border in the recent past. But for those who live along the border, and for those who have taken the time to visit, the truth is plainly obvious: Our southern border has been under attack for years. The fact that we have avoided such a tragedy until now is shear luck.

As the Chairman of Prop 200 in Arizona, the citizens’ initiative requiring proof of citizenship to vote and to receive welfare benefits, I have been on the frontlines of Arizona’s and America’s immigration debate, and this is not the first time I’ve seen the open-borders, pro-Amnesty special interests attempt to deflect attention from the debate at hand. I, myself, and many others have been subjected to personal attacks and racial slurs in our efforts to enforce the rule of law along our border as well as in our state, and such tactics are not likely to end soon.

Prop 200 easily passed on Election Day in 2004, with a majority of Arizona’s Latinos voting yes. They believed then, as they do now, in the rule of law, and understand as we all do – Democrats, Independents and Republicans – that an unsecured, open border and millions of illegals entering our country each year is a formula for disaster. Latinos and legal immigrants support our conservative values on this issue. It is their leadership who are out of touch with America.

What makes the Krentz murder so incredibly tragic is that it was avoidable. Securing our borders is a federal problem that was, and is, solvable. Unfortunately, the will to act in Congress and at the White House is simply not there. The best illustration of our federal government’s commitment to inaction on border security, despite the risks it poses for American citizens, comes from President Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security, who would remark during her days as governor of Arizona, “Show me a 50-foot fence and I will show you a 51-foot ladder.”

But my response to such ill-conceived logic remains the same today as it was back in 2004: “Show me a guy carrying a 51-foot ladder and I will show you one lonely, tired hombre.”

Now, after the fact as far as Mr. Krenz is concerned, we are beginning to hear calls from congressional leaders to put troops on our southern border. It is my hope these calls will not fall again on deaf ears in Congress and at the White House, nor be used merely as election-year tools of political gamesmanship. When our National Guard has been sent to the border previously, they were deprived of a clear mission, actual authority to enforce the law, and the ammunition needed for their success.

In the past two years, drug and gang violence has soared along America’s southern border. Let us honor the memory of Mr. Krentz by doing all we can to assure this tragedy is never repeated.

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Randy Pullen is Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party and Treasurer of the Republican National Committee.