You hear about this other war we got going on? I don’t mean some black ops CIA thing in Yemen, or SEALs offing bin Laden. I mean the domestic one down on our southern border, the one with our alleged good neighbor Mexico.
Oh, you think it ain’t a war? Well, if that’s the little fantasy you want to live with, don’t read The Reaper’s Line: Life and Death on the Mexican Border by Lee Morgan II. That way, you can stay in your safe little cocoon and pretend that Occupy Wall Street is one of the most important things going on right now.
On the other hand, if you like the truth, even if it’s probably a little biased, the pick this book up.
Lee Morgan worked that line for over 30 years, first in the Border Patrol, then for US Customs as a special agent for the Office of Investigations. For most of that, he worked the area around Douglas, Arizona—the land of Geronimo and Cochise, Wyatt and Morgan Earp, even Pancho Villa. According to Morgan, the Douglas area is second only to Miami as a pipeline for Mexican and Colombian drugs coming into the country.
He’s dealt with dirty judges, crooked law enforcement, dope smugglers and illegal aliens (you’ll notice I didn’t say undocumented workers). He put up with spineless prosecuting attorneys and REMFs in D.C., Phoenix and Tucson. In case you don’t know, REMF is a predominantly military acronym. It means rear echelon motherfuckers. You know, the jerks in the air-conditioned offices miles from the front line who make it their job to foist unrealistic policies on the front line soldiers by either hamstringing them or assigning duties that are all but impossible to carry out.
Want an example? In January of 1999, the Border Patrol bosses decided on a typical government move of astounding stupidity. They took 25 percent of their agent from the Douglas Border Patrol station and moved them to Nogales to take part in an interdiction operation. At the same time, they moved the aliens arrested at Nogales and sent them to—have you guessed it yet?—Douglas and turned them loose across the border in Agua Prieta, the town just across the border from Douglas. And, oh yeah, the town used as a headquarters by the Agua Prieta drug cartel. Keep in mind that these “extra aliens” were repeat offenders when it came to jumping the border.
You’d think that would make the REMFs content, but oh no. Not by half.
You see, our nation’s duly elected “Representatives” decided that, after the “Chinese horde alert” in San Francisco, maybe they should hire more BP agents. After all, if you just throw more bodies on the border, that should stop the illegals from trying to sneak across, right?
Except, the problem was, the arrest numbers didn’t go down. Not a bit. In fact, they went up. In D.C. think, that just didn’t make sense.
The solution these wunderkinds came up with was called the X defensive position, and it worked like this: take your Border Patrol agents and assign them an X on the fence. That was that agent’s X. They owned that spot. And they didn’t move from it. Even if they observed a horde of illegal aliens crossing the border a stone’s throw away, if it wasn’t happening right on their X, they couldn’t do anything.
Problem solved. The numbers of arrests went down. I’m sure they at least strained their arms patting themselves on the backs for this brilliant piece of work.
Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gents. Doesn’t that make you sleep better at night?
But just in case you’re worried this is some anti-immigration book, it’s not. Morgan came to know and love the Mexican people. He rightly points out that the major problem here is the Mexican government.
See, in case you aren’t aware of it, Mexico has no middle class. There are the elites, the haves, and then there are the rest, the have-nots. These latter are the people expected to make a living on the equivalent of four bucks a day, maybe less, very seldom more. Even in a depressed economy like Mexico’s, that’s not easy to do. The people jumping the border want one thing: to feed their kids.
Sure, not all of them are that way. There’s bad apples in every barrel. And many of these illegal aliens pay their smuggling passage by carrying drugs into the country with them. But they are victimized, sometimes doubly, by the people they’re paying to get them into the US, commonly known as coyotes.
There are places, and the San Ysidro crossing at San Diego is the worst, from what I’ve read, where there are Mexicans who sit on the US side of the border and wait for border jumpers to make their run into the country. When that happens, these vultures swoop down on the illegals. They rob them, rape the women, beat them, do whatever they feel like to them. And they do this night after night.
Others abandon their charges in the middle of the desert, leaving them without water or food, lost in a foreign land, not speaking the language, not sure what to do next.
I’m not sticking up for them. Far from it. I’m simply saying that, like Morgan, I understand why so many of these people are so eager to get to the US. They see us as a land of milk and honey. I live in an area that has a lot of Hispanic immigrants, and I’ve met several. They run the gamut from hard workers to lazy asses who need to get the hell out of my country. They don’t want to bother to learn English—you are required to learn Spanish if you emigrate to Mexico—nor are they interested in integrating. These are the things the so-called civil rights organizations conveniently ignore.
Where I differ from Morgan—who espouses giving them his version of amnesty, though it’s a version that makes more sense than the popular one—is in giving Mexicans a different status from other immigrants. He says we should let them come in and work, then go back home. He claims many of them do just exactly that, and we’re not going to stop them, so we might as well let them do it legally.
As far as that goes, I can see it. Yes, this has been happening for a couple hundred years, and you’re sticking your head in the sand if you think it’s gonna stop. Anywhere there’s a border—an imaginary line in the sand—someone’s gonna want to get across it illegally. There’s no question of it. And when you’ve got a Third World country like Mexico next to a First World one like America, you can bank on it happening.
But make no mistake people: the drug cartels run Mexico, even if it’s only by default. From the Attorney General on down, government officials are in bed with the cartels. If you don’t believe it, you’re living in a fantasy land. Morgan relates incident after incident where he personally witnessed the Mexican Federal Judicial Police (MFJP) assisting the drug smugglers in getting their load across the border. Not just by opening a hole in the fence, but by making armed incursions onto US soil.
What do you think would happen if a Border Patrol agent crossed into Mexico? There’d be an international incident. But when the MFJP shakes down rooms full of illegal aliens on the Mexican side and turns over half of what they rob from them to the people who rented these potential border jumpers, you can’t say their superiors don’t know.
The Mexican government actively assists people in jumping the border. They publish pamphlets instructing these people in how to obtain false identification, how to sneak across, and who knows what else. I’ve read countless news accounts about it. And some agents arrest the same border jumpers several times in the same day.
Morgan makes a point I have to agree with: why are we sending our guys halfway around the world to “convert” people who have no desire to be like us when we could offer support to average Mexicans in reforming their government? That would give us friendly relations with a country right at our back door that has—wait for it—oil reserves. And most Mexicans actually like Americans. What kind of a plus would that be?
Think about it: what if we funneled oil money to a friendly country that has no desire to fly planes into our major landmarks? Doesn’t that make sense? More than depending on flakes like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.
I’m not convinced we should give Mexican immigrants a special status, though I agree that they’re gonna find ways into our country no matter what we do. And I’ve known enough Mexicans (and El Salvadorans) to see that many of them just want to go along to get along. They aren’t breaking our laws just for the sake of doing it. And if they’re desperate enough to reenter the country several times a day in an effort to better their lives, something by God needs to be done. More than arguing over whether it’s the responsibility of the state or federal government to regulate immigration. I mean, it’s pretty obvious the feds are falling on their faces in that department anyway. And they seem to have conveniently forgotten that it’s our government, not theirs, and they’re just stewards.
What about the cartels?
Simple: it’s a war, folks, and that’s how they see it. We need to do the same thing. Wanna know how serious they are about it? Morgan tells of intercepting a load of drugs stamped with the words This is our war on the North Americans.
I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg here. Yes there are problems here. Morgan seems to be of the opinion that only law enforcement should be armed. He is a Texan by birth and has that attitude so many people from his state seem to have in that they look down on anyone east of Texarkana and north of Abilene. People in Arizona and New Mexico are okay, but only just. In his book, anyone who identifies himself as a redneck is automatically a racist, card-carrying member of the Klan.
And he liked exclamation points a little too much.
But, overall, the book is worth reading. Assuming you want an education in what’s really going on down there as opposed to the media’s version of things.
That decision is up to you.