By Michael Marizco, Arizona Daily Star, August 29, 2005
ALTAR VALLEY - Roy Isaman has arrived at a dubious distinction: His Southern
Arizona ranch sits on the busiest crossing point for illegal entrants from Mexico.
El Mirador Ranch borders Sasabe, Sonora, southwest of Tucson, and at times you
don't know if you're looking at Mexico or standing in it. Whole sections of the
barbed-wire fence that separates his ranch from the smuggler haven across the
way are missing, trampled or lying in large curls on the ground - cut by smugglers
trying to avoid Arizona Highway 286....
The human flood pouring through his land and all along the border prompted the
governor to declare an emergency on Aug. 15, freeing up $1.5 million of state
funds in a bid to help ...
Ranchers along this stretch of the U.S.-Mexican border face the heaviest amount
of foot traffic because illegal entrants and drug smugglers have been chased away
from Cochise County and the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation this year. A concentration
of U.S. Border Patrol agents in those areas moved border crossers into the Altar
Valley, where these ranchers now deal with them. The agency's Tucson station,
which covers much of this area, has had a sharp rise in apprehensions up to 60
percent from last year....
...in the vicinity of Solano Canyon, which drops down from the Baboquivari
Mountains onto King's ranch.... The garbage in the creek is typical of areas heavily
used by illegal entrants: backpacks, discarded clothes, water bottles, empty cans
and packages of food that presumably belonged to people who hope one day for jobs
somewhere in the United States.
Nor could you tell the afternoon before, when a cowboy, Jason Cathcart, found
the skeletal remains of two people in a wash five miles west on the dirt road
from King's house.
For Cathcart... Two weeks ago, he came home to find somebody had smashed a window
at his home and stolen food and clothes...
The question for individual property owners is whether any of the $1.5 million
in emergency funds will be spent on helping them recuperate from some of the damages
Down the road in Sasabe, Sonora, an equally unimpressed Saúl Hernandez
negotiates with a group of three nervous Mexican men....
The 26-year-old smuggler is proud of the silver Ford F-250 he was able to buy
this year with smuggling dollars...
"I don't give a damn what they do," he says. "They're not going
to close me off the border."