by Caren Cowan
With the General Election for our nation’s next president more than six months away, I am not sure how much more I, or the rest of the American public, can stand. At our house we generally listen to about an hour of Fox News in the morning, an hour of network news in the evening and 30 minutes of local news at night. Hopefully that provides somewhat of a balanced overview of what is going on the in the world.
Not so much lately. On the national front the news swings from the horrific terrorist events around the world to what has become utter silliness in the presidential campaign. It is understandable that candidates may not have full policy plans on the wide variety of issues our country is facing. The level of access to the facts varies among them and things are changing on a daily if not hourly basis. But attacking wives?
It is no wonder that its hard to get quality men and women to run for public office. Who really wants to have their lives inspected back to the womb? We are thankful for those who do sacrifice their time, money and energy to represent us.
It is the wonderful campaign finance reform that was initiated several years ago that has allowed super pacs to dominate the campaign and drive the rhetoric. And, there is no one to take the blame for the utter chaos that is created.
It is our system that needs review. Just imagine what good could be done with all the money that is being spent not just on advertising, but in polling, “research”, staff, and who knows what else. The theory is that a campaign for the New Mexico State Senate in an urban area is going to run upwards of $200,000 this year. I cannot even fathom what the presidential candidates are spending. Meanwhile we are told that 20 percent of New Mexico’s children go to bed hungry every night. The national number isn’t much better.
But back to the races at hand, adding insult to injury is the fact that when a presidential candidate does answer a direct question, they are often woefully misinformed.
Take Hillary Clinton and the Mexican border issues for instance. Just days after over 600 ranchers and others from at least three states gathered in Animas, New Mexico to demand protection from illegal crossings into the U.S., Mrs. Clinton told a Phoenix radio station:
“I think we’ve done a really good job securing the border and I think those that say we haven’t are not paying attention to everything that was done for the last 15 years under both President Bush and President Obama,” she told KTAR. “We have increased dramatically the number of border security officers, we have added physical obstructions like fences in many places, and in fact the immigration from Mexico has dropped considerably. It’s just not happening anymore.”
A quick Google search finds a report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) that found in August 2015 that an estimated 2.5 million new illegal aliens have settled in the United States since President Obama took office in January 2009. While the pace is slower than the previous administration, the numbers are still startling.
In a Washington Times story earlier this year, Peter Bedard, wrote “There are a record 61 million immigrants and their American-born children in the United States, including an estimated 15.7 million illegally here, according to a new analysis of 2015 U.S. Census data.” This he gathered from the CIS report previously mentioned.
While trying to change the subject in the interview Mrs. Clinton said, “Now I think it’s time to turn our attention to comprehensive immigration reform,” she said, using the term immigrant rights advocates use for legislation to legalize the 11 million illegal immigrants now in the country.
She was probably right saying that both Bush and Obama had addressed border concerns… but addressing them is a far cry from solving them.
Another point Mrs. Clinton may be ill advised on is exactly who it is that is coming over the border. Our friends in Mexico tell us that between the drug cartels and illegals from other countries around the world they don’t feel safe in crossing anymore.
According to breitbart.com under the headline “Border Fence Down: Border Patrol Union Says Breach Brings Terrorist Concerns”, Arizona Public Media reported that the president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) testified in a congressional hearing in mid March that cameras caught the images of two trucks crossing the area. Border patrol officials were not at the spot to catch them at the time of the illegal crossing.
Brandon Judd, the president of the 16,500 member national union said, “The scariest part is that we don’t know what was in those vehicles.”
The Arizona publication said he warned that illegal border crossings on the Mexico border from individuals from Pakistan is expected to increase more than three times in this year alone.
About that fence…
The entire nation has heard lots about the border fence from Donald Trump. It has been interesting to learn what the residents along the border think. First, no one seems to think that there is a silver bullet that will solve the issues on the border today. Some think that the fence is a piece of the arsenal to achieve security. And a few others that think the fence is a waste of time and money.
Regardless of what people think of the fence, there are numerous facts that may amaze most people.
As of 2009 here is where the fences in New Mexico stood:
181 total miles of fence
64.2 miles of barbed wire
37.8 miles of Normandy type fence with 42” livestock component
35.2 miles of Normandy type fence with 48” livestock component
.8 miles of Normandy type fence with no livestock component
15 miles of pedestrian fencing
1.5 miles of post(s) only
26.4 miles of post and rail
There is no information about fencing in New Mexico since 2009. Pay attention Mrs. Clinton. There is no data for seven years.
We have been unable to locate any information on fencing in Arizona, but the usborderpatrol.com website says: “The 370 miles of Arizona’s border with Mexico is also some of the most dangerous and violent land on earth. Each year, over a million illegal aliens race north across this part of the Mexican border and into Arizona.
Included in this stampede are people from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. In addition, smugglers use this most desolate part of America’s border as a freeway to traffic thousands of pounds of heroin and cocaine to America’s cities. To add even more to the outrage, hundreds of sex slaves are also pushed north across this part of the border each year.”
In the spirit of full disclosure, please note that this site this came from is not the office Border Patrol site. It a site done by retired Border Patrol agents and their supports.
Conclusions & next steps
At the Animas meeting there was a list of solutions presented as follows:
Boots on the Ground at the Border
Address Federal Budget Cuts While parts of Border Security Funding Is Cut
Congress Act Within IT’s POWER with the Posse Comitatus Act
Utilize Playas (owned by NM Tech) for a Border Patrol family hub
Utilize the Roosevelt Easement 60 feet along the border for safety use
More Hooves on the Ground
It will take Congress to get this all done. One of the best ways to do that is through the media. Since March 10, there have been numerous newspaper stories and radio interviews across the county. The idea that this IS a national safety issue is beginning to appear in the media. We had calls from as far away as Minnesota with folks supporting our efforts.
There will be a congressional hearing on the issue in Washington, D.C. in mid April. A group is planning on going back for the event and there will be New Mexico and/or Arizona witnesses who live near the border.
At the meeting, Congressman Steve Pearce again pledged his efforts to keep our families safe. He noted to his visit to the border he is always accompanied by folks with machine guns and questions how safe it might be if those are required for anyone.
Senator Udall’s office state that they had the message and the Senator has already begun to push the issue in Senate hearings. New Mexico State Legislators are expressing interest in helping. Other groups are planning additional meetings near the border.
We haven’t seen change yet, but is appears that the seed is growing and we need to keep pouring water on it. Anytime you have a chance, no matter where you live, please ask your elected representatives to protect our families and our country.
We would be remiss if we didn’t thank Erica Valdez for heading up and pulling off the Animas meeting. Her work is an excellent example of making something happen by taking the reins and charging forward.
Where You need to be for
The New Mexico Supreme Court has schedule their oral arguments on the appeal of the Court of Appeals ruling that the agriculture workers’ compensation insurance is unconstitutional as well as the retroactive piece of the ruling that takes the unconstitutionality back to March 2012.
The hearing will take place at 1:30 p.m. at the Supreme Court located at 237 Don Gaspar Avenue in Santa Fe. We need to pack the room. The hearing is expected to last about two hours, although there is still some wrangling going on about who gets to speak and for how long.
There is a parking garage between Galesteo and Don Gaspar just off of Paseo de Peralta. The Court is located a couple of blocks down the street from the garage.
Hope to see YOU there!
A little help for our future
New Mexico is proud to have a National Beef Ambassador represent our state as one of only five young people to hold that honor. Unfortunately the sponsor for the Ambassador program, the American National CattleWomen, is in “transition” and has absolutely no funds to support the program this year nor apparently into the future.
Thus our New Mexico Ambassador Lauren Schlothauer is left holding the bag for expenses for any trips she takes on behalf of the beef community. She will be traveling back to Washington, D.C. next month to participate in the National Beef Cattlemen’s Association’s Legislative Conference in mid April. The trip is an expensive one. The headquarter hotel rooms are over $300 a night. While the Ambassadors share rooms when appropriate, even a quarter of that cost for four nights is substantial.
The New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association (NMCGA) has arranged for Lauren’s plane ticket back, but there are still lots of dollars that will have to come out of a student’s pocket. If you’d like to help Lauren on this trip and others that she will need to take in the months come, please send a check made out to Lauren Schlothauer and send it to the NMCGA office at P.O. Box 7157, Albuquerque NM 87194. We will see that it gets to her. Thanks for your consideration!
Gross Receipts Taxes on Hunting…
The NMCGA continues to explore the option of litigation. It is expected that another round of letters were in the mail at the end of March.
Those relentless feds
In late February and early March natural resource users were hit with two more rounds of proposed regulations. One from the BLM on a planning rule that has most folks scared, the NMCGA has worked with Congressman Pearce, Congressman Gosar and the House Western Caucus to get an extension to the comment period that currently is slated for April 25, 2015. Watch the website at www.nmagriculture.org for more information and draft comments. The document is only 244 pages.
On March 8 the US FWSS published its proposed revision to its Mitigation Policy. While it is only 13 pages, the consequences of the proposal becoming a regulation are catastrophic. Please read Karen Budd-Falen’s article on the topic on page 40. Some say this makes the Waters of the US regulation look like child’s play. We are seeking an extension of the comment period, which is now May 9. Again watch the website for more information. ▫