EXCLUSIVE: Border Community Organizing Petition to Protest Obama’s Immigration Speech

EXCLUSIVE: Border Community Organizing Petition to Protest Obama’s  Immigration Speech

By Jana Winter

Published May 13, 2011 | FoxNews.com


advertisement

The residents of the Chiricahua-Peloncillo drug and human smuggling corridor  that runs from the Mexican border north through eastern Arizona and western New  Mexico are circulating a petition to send to the White  House in response to President  Obama‘s recent immigration speech.

“It is with great wonderment and sadness that we listened to your May 10  speech on immigration issues.  All of the joking about moats and alligators  cut residents of Portal, AZ, to the core as we sheltered with friends or at a Red  Cross evacuation site, to survive a terrible fire that still threatens our  lives and property, as well as our ecotourism-based economy,” the letter  reads.

On Sunday, a massive fire broke out in Horseshoe Canyon, about 50 miles north  of the Mexican border, which residents and law enforcement say they believe was  started by criminal illegal aliens. Last year, a fire in the same location  caused more than $10 million in damages.

“During its first 24-hrs, the fire consumed a greater area than did last  year’s fire over a 6-week period. Local residents were roused after  midnight, and some slept fitfully in cars after fleeing with family photos and  any valuables that could be quickly assembled. Elderly retirees left with  medical supplies, including oxygen tanks on which some depend,” the letter  reads.

The petition comes just days after Obama appeared in El Paso, Texas, to plead the case for immigration reform that has been bottled up in Congress for years. During his remarks, the president argued that the border is as safe as it has ever been but Republican opportunists are using the issue to score political points and prevent legal reforms to address illegal immigration.

“We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who  said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement.  All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done,” the president said.

“But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I’ve got to say I suspect  there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one  more time. You know, they said we needed to triple the Border Patrol. Or now  they’re going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol. Or they’ll want a  higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat.  They’ll never be satisfied,” he continued.

Jeff Gee, one of the organizers behind the petition and a firefighter  battling the still-burning fire in Horseshoe Canyon, says he was insulted by  Obama’s speech.

“I’m really disappointed at current border security, I’m really disappointed  at the president’s speech saying that people like me wants moats with  alligators, but moats with alligators might work, nothing else,” he told  FoxNews.com.

“We’re doing everything we can to get the word out that this is serious  problem, it’s not just a border issue, the drugs and crime are moving through  the corridor and they keep going to major cities. I don’t know if this letter  will help, but nothing else is.”

Cochise County, Ariz., Sheriff Larry Dever, who penned an op-ed in The New  York Times Friday describing the plight of border residents, told FoxNews.com  that the petition is a plea for the administration to take a closer look at the  hardships they are suffering.

“These people are not overreacting. What they suggest in letter is very deep  part of their belief system based on their experience and their experience has  been horrific — they see human smuggling and drug trafficking, they sit on  their porch and watch people walk through, they’ve had their homes burglarized,”  Dever said.

“It’s a beautiful landscape and for those that moved out there for a sense of  tranquility and peace, that’s been destroyed,” he added.

The letter has been posted at post offices in the border towns of Portal,  Ariz. and Rodeo, New Mexico, for signatures to be added.

Copies of the letter will also be sent to Rep. Gabrielle  Giffords, D-Ariz., Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, Homeland  Security Secretary Janet  Napolitano, Agriculture Secretary Tom  Vilsack, Secretary of State Hillary  Clinton, Arizona Gov. Jan  Brewer, and National Public Radio.

In the letter, petitioners say that despite the president’s protestations,  “neither the border nor daily life” is secure.

“Seizure of record quantities of drugs may pad the statistics of Homeland  Security, but it does nothing to ease the burdens we have been forced to  bear. Over the years, as our homes have been burgled or invaded, our  fences, water lines and windows repeatedly broken, our businesses driven toward  bankruptcy, our natural surroundings desecrated by trash and fire, and our lives  even obliterated (neighbor Rob Krentz, murdered by a drug scout), it has amazed  us how little note is taken of these tragedies by our government and the press,”  the letter reads.

“Is it enough, now that we have suffered back-to-back fires that threaten to  erase our very reasons for living here? What must we say or do to garner  your attention and help?  How is it that, on the same day we took Osama  bin Laden in Pakistan,  we could not prevent illegals – 50 miles within our borders (!) – from setting a  fire along a known smuggling route in an extremely dry year? Why were  federal agents (BP, ICE, National Guard, or Special Forces) not posted along  this route in anticipation of a repeat of last year’s calamity?  Better  still, why were the illegals not captured before they had traveled 50 miles  north of the border?! Or, in the eyes of our government, do we just reside in a  ‘sacrifice zone’?”

The letter also describes the devastation the fires have caused to the areas  unique biodiversity, which attracts bird-watchers and naturalists from around  the world.

The petitioners then asks the president to outline how he plans to fulfill  his obligation to protect their constitutional right to defense from foreign  invasions “especially as this regards fires set by Mexican drug and human  smugglers.

“We thank you in advance for your anticipated response,” it concludes.

Dever said the residents of the area are generally self-sufficient and do  their part, “but they also expect government agencies to take some  responsibility. They’re not, and these people are suffering the consequences,”  Dever said.

The residents will “come together and unite in this front,” he added.  “They’re not going to give up. They’re not going to roll over.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/05/13/exclusive-border-community-organizing-petition-protest-obamas-immigration/#ixzz1MMcsiING

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: