The Poor Johnson’s

I posted a story about the Johnson’s before.

If James Johnson were any closer to Mexico, he would be in it.

And if there is a front line in the border crisis stretching from California to Texas, it may be the 14 miles of wide open boundary that the Johnson clan shares with their Mexican counterparts to the south.

As many as 500 immigrants a day use their ranch and farmland as a welcome mat, they say, with bandits and smuggling guides making some areas too dangerous to visit. Fences have been torn down, they say, crops pilfered and cattle watering tanks fouled with human waste.

Every day, just feet from their property, old school buses and vans with windows blacked out disgorge luggageless passengers who disappear into the derelict Mexican village of Las Chepas and re-emerge on distant hills sloping back down on the American side.

“There goes another busload,” Mr. Johnson, 30, said as an approaching gray van boiled a cloud of dust on a Mexican gravel road almost within touching distance, then rolled out of sight. “They’ll be passing my place tonight.”

Luis Barker, deputy chief of the Border Patrol in Washington, said that “we’re not where we want to be” but that “when we apply pressure in one sector, we see a shift elsewhere.”

Mr. Barker said New Mexico was “a priority corridor - we’re putting our resources in that location.” Seven poles towering over the desert have daylight and infrared cameras - 10 more are coming - and the sandy trails are seeded with buried sensors.

Mr. Barker said the Department of Homeland Security, the Border Patrol’s parent agency, was not embarrassed by the emergency declarations made by the two governors and welcomed the chance to cooperate with state authorities.

Camera’s are nice but obviously we need more Border Patrol officers.

Everyone captured is fingerprinted and checked against government files. Non-Mexicans are held for deportation proceedings, but because jail space is limited, Mexicans without criminal records are generally released across the border. They can be caught and released a dozen times before facing charges, Border Patrol agents say. In fact, they say, when they stop seeing certain repeat offenders it means they have finally made it in.

This is the definition of insanity.

Despite their frustration, family members are not looking for help from any of the civilian border patrol groups that have formed in recent years, like the Minuteman Project, James Johnson said. For one thing, he said, the area is without cellphone service, hampering civilian communication. Also, he said, “You don’t know their agenda - it’s too much of a liability.”

Mr. Johnson, all the Minutemen do is watch and report. They also use ham radios when cellphones don’t work. Maybe you should give them a try.

Read the story.

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