The illegal immigrants bring family members, drugs, guns — and sometimes wholesale destruction. The often-drought-plagued Coronado region has seen more than its share of wildfires lately.
“Here we’ve documented that there are several border-related causes for the fires,” Dever told TheDC. “There are intentional fires — that is, fires set to distract law enforcement to facilitate a crossing or a getaway; warming fires started during travel; and, finally, cigarette induced fires.”
The latest one destroyed 52 homes and five businesses.
And yet there is a border fence. Looking east atop Coronado, it’s plainly visible for miles.
To the west, however, where mesquite trees and other thick brush grow, there is no fence. Pointing to the peak behind him, Dever explained that it would be flush with illegal immigrants by the end of the day.
He recalled a conversation about that peak with a border patrol agent who “said that by four or five o’clock it would be crawling with people.” Many of the agents, Dever explained, have less than two years of experience. And the Mexican immigrants who cross over gladly invest the two hours it takes to reach the top.
“It was two o’clock at that moment,” he recounted, “and I asked him why they didn’t start up the mountain now to head them off — to which he shrugged his shoulders.”
Dever said there had been a border-crossing attempt a few hours earlier. But despite a few more trucks than usual, the Border Patrol station in Naco seemed unusually calm. The parking lot was full of unoccupied patrol trucks.
Between eight and ten separate groups of people make it across this particular 26-mile stretch of border fence every week, he told TheDC. Most groups range in size between six and 60 people; some are as large as 100 or more.
The border-crossers are not always migrants looking for work. Area residents see vandalism and violence on a regular basis, which Dever said is connected to drug cartels.
“These people are profiteers. They are pirates. They are interested in one thing: money. If you pay the price, they’ll move anything you want them to move.”
Dever also said that within minutes of TheDC’s arrival in Naco, Janet Napolitano’s Homeland Security Department would know he and his guests were there.
“I know for a fact that these agents have specific orders to contact Napolitano’s office whenever I bring anybody down here,” he said. And within moments, the whole town would know of his presence: Scouts watch on both sides of the border, taking note of anyone related to law enforcement.