April 17, 2014
As a fourth-generation Arizona rancher I have a strong attachment to the land my great grandfather homesteaded back in 1896. But ever since the US government built the border fence and sent thousands of Border Patrol agents to the Southwest, my property rights are violated every day.
Our ranch has 14,000 acres of cattle land that stretches some ten miles along the U.S.-Mexico border. When I was a kid the border wasn’t a big deal. The U.S. and Mexican ranchers on either side would help each other out. Then in the 1990’s the Border Patrol showed up to close down the border, and ever since that’s dominated my livelihood and my life.
At first I wanted to cooperate with the Border Patrol. Then the agents started racing their vehicles through my property, busting through our fences, tearing up roads, and running down cattle. When other ranchers and I met with border officials in Tucson to explain the problem, they refused to pay for the damages.