Dateline Sasabe, AZ: US-Mexico Border
by Joe Richey
At the international line high–noon cool 100 degree day east of Sasabe, Arizona, pissing in the sizzling sand I burned hand on a rusted fence. An undocumented cow wandered over the Sonora and over the border into a piece of shade on the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge. US Marine from Montana Kyle Todd guards the refuge.
“We pick em up for the Arizona Livestock Commission
keep them for a month or so, if they’re healthy, and no rightful owner appears, we send them to slaughter.”
Not a single cow got rounded up, classified, identified, tagged, tugged, transported, finger–printed, or iris scanned that day. Officer Todd pointed his pistol to uncharted trails and roads
carved by migrants, smugglers, border patrol, and us. Toys, clothes,
cars, empty water bottles, bent bicycles pile up in the dry wash.
“A great place for target practice,”
and remembered junk yards
in North Dakota.
No herd of javelinas dashed over ground radar systems. Not one jaguar, nor endangered pygmy owl. Nor did a single narco–terrorist shimmy through the concrete vehicle barrier. Pages of the Koran did not float about in the desert wind.
Just, quiet, majestic,
A subcontractor for a contractor for a prime integrator, unseen, unheard, and with as little environmental impact as possible, working under the Department Homeland Security, crept into my lap, recorded my obscenities spilling hot coffee driving to Lukeville, on assignment to cover the Secure Border Initiative’s SBInet and its pilot Project 28, the first 28 miles in a potential six–year contract awarded to Boeing Integrated Defense Systems to build a virtual fence along the Southwest border.
I feel the heat
touching the virtual fence
90 miles away.
Perched 95 feet above on top an MStar Tower erected by DRS Sustainment Systems integrated by Boeing, a long–range daytime and night–time remote surveillance control and display center spins 360 degrees, 24/7. The LORROS camera on top can locate moving targets for up to ten miles within line–of–sight in all weather conditions. A local painter points over my shoulder where a
camera scans from a tower, calls it the evil red eye of the eagle.
Feel that ground radar
beneath your feet?
Coming from that Smart Rock over there.
In the blinding sky, Boeing’s unmanned aerial vehicles float invisibly. The deserted landscape approaches nightfall and border patrol detection screens light up like pinball machines. CBP, ICE, the US National Guard, and the Minute Men on horseback photo op rides with anti–immigrant politicians, and their friends and allies. Calling all warm bodies, boots and tires on the ground from tonight in Arizona where it’s:
“These immigrants are getting under our skin.”
“Don’t mess with our people until the peaches are in.”
On the Devil’s Highway 286, a dozen Border Patrol Ford Broncos, a National Guard unit, six Wackenhut transport buses idle in dusty turnarounds. A gas station attendant says, “There are nights when six busloads will fill up.” Arizona Governor pipes in from the back of a security limo: “Because it’s not just peaches. It’s bridges, roads, skyscrapers. It’s condo units across the street.”
Burgers and fries. Rice and beans.
Cheese and rice. Jesus Christ.
A word problem from Immigration and Customs Enforcement: “Enforcement First” policies spent X billion tax dollars on Y number of US border security agents, plus surveillance, detection, response, apprehension, transportation, processing, fingerprinting, iris scanning, background checking, confiscating and storing, tagging anklets, add ancillary deportation services, plus Z number of National Guard units. What is the total spent on border enforcement?
What are the sounds of career criminals laughing?
New units back from Iraq
units well deserving of Yuma comfort:
jobs, bennies, SUVs, sunsets to calm down by,
like all of us need, but none more than they do.
can get real boring.
When they want an immigration emergency
we’ll get one.