Letter to the Editor

Perspective from the border

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

My husband and I recently returned from volunteering at the border in Nogales, Arizona. We had the opportunity to meet with judges, law enforcement, immigration and defense lawyers, migrants and asylum seekers. It was an eye opening and sobering experience.

Border security and immigration policy is complicated. The farther away you live from the border, the easier it is to imagine a wall being a simple and practical solution. The closer you get to the border, learn about the issues and meet the people who live along it, the more simplistic and financially irresponsible a wall seems.

For example, I was stunned to learn that the majority of illegal drugs entering the U.S. comes through legal ports of entry hidden in trucks, trailers and other vehicles, not through the "un-walled" desert. Border security advocates, people who actually live along the border, wish for more Custom Border Patrol agents, people who inspect incoming vehicles where the bulk of drugs and human trafficking takes place. For example, only six of 14 gates are open in Nogales, Arizona, due to lack of agents, despite the fact that millions of dollars were spent remodeling and adding gates. There is a squeal award for Senator Joni Ernst!

As we move forward, it is critical that people who live farthest away from the border listen to and understand the real needs and situation of people who live closest to the border.

Sincerely,

Jane Shuttleworth

Okoboji