Some border residents unconvinced Trump's border wall plan will be be effective

- While the future of President Donald Trump's proposed wall on the United States - Mexico border is debated in Washington, D.C., there are people who work and live on that same border everyone day, who feel isolated against the illegal drugs that still flow over the border.

Recently, there have been some improvements made on the border south of Tucson, and ranchers in that area say they don't believe a bigger border wall will solve their problems.

"In the last 30 years, the Border Patrol has caught a half million people just on our ranch," said John Lodd. The rancher owns a ranch near Bisbee, and the ranch shares a 10-mile border with Mexico. Lodd said a new, 18-feet tall border fence that stretches 7.5 miles near Naco is the "best design" he has seen. The border fence replaces part of a fence that was built out of recycled runway material from the Vietnam War.

"Got a plate at the top you can't get a hand hold to crawl over," said Ladd. "If you do, you are going to fall 18 feet."

The fence was built with money President Barack Obama approved, four years ago.

"If we're going to build a wall, this is what we need," said Ladd, who said he likes Trump, and is supportive of him. Ladd has doubts on the billions of dollars Trump wants to spend on a wall that is much bigger.

"If we spent that money on enforcing immigration laws, build a couple of jails, hire more prosecutors and we do need more Border Patrol and be on the border instead of 30 miles north, we would save money and we wouldn't need a wall," said Ladd.

Ladd is not the only person who is not supportive of a wall. Rancher and author Ed Ashurst is also not supportive.

"You can build a wall a hundred foot high and ten foot thick, and if there is nobody watching the wall, they are going to come anyway," said Ashurst. "They are going to go over the top, under, or drill a hole through it."

Some drug smugglers have reportedly shot drugs over the border fence, with an air cannon. Some have also used catapults.

"They were shooting 80-pound bales of dope that would travel 150-200 feet over," said Ashurst, who said he would rather see more boots on the ground from the Border Patrol, and some from the U.S. Special Forces.

"You don't need thousands of Army, Navy, Marines," said Ashurst. "You need a few specialized guys. You just need to give them the authority to do their job."

For Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, however, he has not seen a drop off in drug smuggling, as he has seen a decrease in illegal crossings. Dannels said his county could still use a bigger wall on the border.

"That tells me there is a symbol of hope coming to my county," said Dannels.


Book by Ed Ashurst - "Alligators in the Moat - Politics and the Mexican Border"

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