Good Fruit Grower

November 2011

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New Technology & Labor the Double Z D Trouble on an Bell and the other ranchers who reside along this country's southern bor- der likely see illegal immigration differently than many of the tree fruit grow- ers and shippers in the North who count on the Mexican labor force, which is estimated to be largely undocumented. But his perspective is that of a cattle rancher who shares many of the same values as tree fruit and grape growers. It can be a paradise for ranch families who build their lives around the few springs that make the land habitable for humans. But it has its dark side, too. In addition to the many natural perils facing the Bell family on such isolated, inhos- pitable land, the Mexican nationals who illegally cross it into the United States present another challenge. Some are coming for work. Some are coming with narcotics. Some seem intent to create chaos through crime. And, all risk their lives to make the journey. Bell estimates that 80 percent of the people crossing his 34,000-acre Illegal immigration has no upside for border ranchers. by Jim Black Double Z Ranch are illegal immigrants who are only entering the United States to find work and a better life, but he thinks at least 20 percent are criminals, with most involved in drug trafficking. The Bell family recognizes the dangers to themselves, but they also appreciate the issues the trespassers face. "The last thing we want to see out here is anyone suffering because they can't get a drink of water," Bell said, "so we put water faucets on most of our facilities. Coming across a dead body or scattered skeletal remains is something that most folks won't ever have to deal with, but on the border, this is a regular occurrence for ranchers." The family even provides water to the people who approach their homes, though they refuse to give transportation. To those who ask, they say that they'll get them a ride with the Border Patrol—and a desperate few have even taken them up on that offer. In response to the Bells' generosity, coyotes—the people who guide many of those coming for work—vandalize homes while passing through the ranch and neighboring properties. Houses with tall, green trees on this fairly barren landscape are a beacon for aliens, said Bell, luring them to home sites that are often miles from any help. It's potentially dangerous, but the Bells and the other families who live on the Double Z try not to worry about it much. To date, most of the threats, including deaths, have been directed at the Border Patrol or the unfortunate passerby who happened upon the wrong trespasser at the wrong time. Their thinking is that if they leave the migrants alone and attempt to avoid them when riding on the range, everyone can coexist in relative peace. That's not to say that tranquility is a 1,500+ 2,800+ 3,300+ 3,600+ 3,600+ 616,000 378,000 Tucson Sector statistics Narcotics Number Illegals seized** Year of agents captured* (in pounds) 2000 2007 2008 2009 2010 240,000 816,402 317,000 1,201,649 241,000 1,201,649 212,000 1,030,740 reality on the Double Z. During the nineties, several generations of a single family, from baby to aging grandparents, could be found crossing the ranch from Mexico. Although these families undoubt- edly thought the crossing was one of hope for the future, the Bells were angered to see the adults put their children at so much risk. They don't see these great masses of migrating people anymore, but people still cross— and they're more desperate, more determined, and more dangerous. Bell knows the financial impact of illegal immigration, too. Now that the border cities 24 NOVEMBER 2011 GOOD FRUIT GROWER *Every apprehended illegal alien is entered into the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identificaion System to determine any prior immigration and/or criminal history. Over 90% of the aliens apprehended receive some sort of legal consequence for crossing illegally. **Increased Border Patrol personnel, technology, infrastructure, and the consequence delivery systems have drastically cut the number of crossings while increasing the volume of narcotic seizures. have tall fences and other methods of securing the international boundary, Bell said, more illegals are going across backcountry areas. He estimates that his costs attributed

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