No solutions in border story


Normally, I find your articles balanced and productive, often with suggestions for solutions and remedies. This one was simply a Border Patrol-bashing article (“Border Out of Control,” HCN, 6/9/14).

The problems for the desert, its environment and the wildlife certainly were well documented, which is a good thing. But Ray Ring offers absolutely no solutions other than implying we should just tear down the fences, pull out the Border Patrol and leave the border completely open. 

In our current national situation, an open border is impossible. Illegal immigration cannot be allowed, drug smuggling is a huge problem and national security issues have to be addressed. The people improperly entering our country do not stay on “administrative” roads. They are potentially heavily armed, and when Ring speaks of multiple patrol vehicles responding to a single vehicle “when one or two would have sufficed,” he has obviously never been in law enforcement and experienced the dangers involved. Safety is in numbers, always. Maybe he should ride with the agents and feel the gut-induced fear from approaching a large number of unknown suspects — rather than ride in a comfortable helicopter, making judgments.

Robert Braley
Bakersfield, California

Ray Ring replies:
Thank you for your careful reading of my story. Since the rate of illegal immigration and smuggling doesn’t seem to be closely related to the amount of Border Patrol activity, the story raised a fundamental question: Is the amount of patrolling worth it? As for solutions, several are offered in the story, including improving economic policies to benefit Mexico and Central America and reforming U.S. drug policies. If Border Patrol activities were concentrated within a mile of the border, the agency would be more effective, and the backcountry much better off.

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