Friday, May 28, 2010

Illegal aliens driving Americans out of their homes near the border

"They spent ten winters hunting quail in the sun. But those halcyon days ended last week for Terrie and Glen Stoller. Smugglers -- armed, numerous, and brazen -- have frightened them off their southeast Arizona property.

The couple is selling their home, 45 miles north of the Mexican border in the notorious Chiricahua Corridor.

'Last winter,' says Terrie, 'as we walked the hills looking for quail with our dogs, I kept thinking, ‘What if we come upon a drug encampment? What's going to happen to us?' I carry a camera, my husband carries a 12-gauge for quail, and we have four hunting dogs. It'd be the end of us. It'd be no contest against drug runners carrying rifles and big weapons.'

Glen likens the family to frontier homesteaders loading a wagon and returning home. 'Cochise has won,' he says, referring to the Apache chief who made the Chiricahua Mountains his homeland. 'The Indians are running us off'...

The couple, both 71, made a party of their last hours in Arizona. Terrie had lunch ready for dear friends who came to help pack. Others drove to the barbed wire fence around the property, threw their arms wide and said, 'Let's have a goodbye hug.'

It was a sad day, made more so by events in Washington.

At the precise moment Americans citizens were saying a wrenching farewell to their friends and property, President Obama stood on the White House lawn and listened as Mexican President Felipe Calderón criticized SB 1070, Arizona's own effort to deal with a state under siege...

The border is a 'combat zone,' says T.J. Bonner, head of the Border patrol agents' union, too dangerous even for Border Patrol. You read that correctly. Without armored vehicles to protect them, Bonner opposes putting Border Patrol agents on the border itself...

The landscape here is among the Southwest's most beautiful, big beyond imagining, with waving grasses, dirt roads that never end, and hidden canyons that twist through the Chiricahuas and their sister mountains, the Peloncillos, on the New Mexico side.

But smugglers of both people and drugs now control those ranges, and these dangerous men have transformed life here. Some residents carry weapons inside their houses. Others grab a firearm to step out to the garage or the storage shed, or to go to the market...

The Stollers themselves were broken into in May last year and again in June, and in January, a retired couple living a mile north suffered a home invasion by two illegals, one carrying a machete. 'It all built up,' says Terrie. 'The Apache School was being totally ruined and trashed and everything taken out of it. Then Rob Krentz was killed March 27, and he was just down the road...'

In one respect, the Stollers are fortunate. They've found a likely buyer, a fellow who grew up here and wants to return to the valley in retirement. Selling the place through a real estate agent to someone just coming in, without local ties, would've been impossible.

'Nobody in their right mind would even look at it, knowing what's going on here,' says Terrie.

Property values are plunging across the borderlands. I got an e-mail last week from retired Cochise County judge Rich Winkler, 71, who always dreamed of owning a cattle ranch. He lives outside Rodeo, six miles from the Stollers and fifty miles north of the Mexican line.

His ranch is in the Peloncillos. Here is what he wrote:

Mary and I have worked all our life to pay for this place, and now they tell me it is worth nothing because no one will buy it. I don't blame them. Helen Snyder sells real estate in the area and she said that since Rob's death, the market is dead in the water. I can't believe my country would leave me high and dry like this.

If the heartbreak Winkler feels doesn't leap from those words, read them again. Heartbreak is everywhere here, every day."

Yet Obama doesn't spend ten seconds thinking about the citizens he is supposed to protect in Arizona. Instead, he joins with the Mexican President to demean his own countrymen as they struggle against the very real Mexican invasion. Disgusting.

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