Illegals: An apocalypse now

| Sunday, Sept. 17, 2006

"It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face, and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies ..."

-- Marlon Brando as Col. Walter E. Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now."

Visit the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona (a 90-minute drive from Tucson) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will offer you a pamphlet.

"The Border, Are You Aware?" is about the horror of the Mexican border.

America's defenseless back door has transformed the 118,000 acres of refuge for more than 325 species of birds, 53 species of reptiles and amphibians, 58 species of mammals, including mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, javelina (North American wild pig) and mountain lions, into a refuge for the wild life of illegal immigrants from Mexico. The pamphlet's "Potential Danger" section says illegals can be armed and dangerous, and determined to complete their odyssey at "any" cost. Add to the mix of bad actors an assortment of smugglers, car thieves, drug runners and human "mules" carrying contraband.

The "Be Aware, Be Safe" section says that cell phones usually are useless. And its warnings are prolific:

Don't pick up hitch-hikers, keep valuables out of sight, avoid "well-used" but unofficial trails and stay clear of "major areas of border activity." People who look suspicious should not be approached, but reported immediately.

Contact information given in the pamphlet includes telephone numbers for Refuge Law Enforcement, U.S. Border Patrol and the Pima County sheriff.

And that's the good news.

Bonnie Swarbrick, outdoor recreation planner, lives on the refuge in an old ranch house. There have been nine break-ins, probably all by illegals. "Mainly for food and water," says Ms. Swarbrick. But not always.

"A man jumped out of my bedroom and had an intense look," she says about a beer-drinking intruder. "I walked backwards down the hallway." He was looking for valuables in her dresser drawers and under her mattress. During another break-in, someone put her frozen peach pie in the microwave.

"The whole kitchen was a gross disgusting mess," Swarbrick said.

Windows with iron bars, steel doors and dead-bolts did not stop the last two intrusions. "They kicked in the steel doors," she says. "There was a big boot print on the kitchen door."

The 8-foot, chain-link fence topped with coiled razor wire that will surround her home in two months might make a difference.

"We have had border bandits robbing groups from Mexico," said Kathie Senter, in the visitor services department.

Her conservative estimates of the annual toll of horror includes five murders and numerous rapes. Five agency SUVs were stolen, one in broad daylight near the office. There are 1,000 to 4,000 illegals in the refuge on a typical day.

Maybe the 40 or so BORTAC agents (the Border Patrol SWAT team) assigned to the refuge will make a difference, and maybe, too, the large, heavy steel barricades to prevent illegals from driving in from Mexico.

Much like Col. Kurtz, President George W. Bush treats as friends the horror and immoral terror of more than 11 million lawbreaking immigrants.

When this nation became a refuge for lawbreaking aliens, it made a farce of the Fish & Wildlife Service motto -- "Conserving the nature of America." Additional Information:

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