SEPTEMBER 20, 2006
An Indian tribe, whose members regularly help smuggle illegal immigrants and drugs into the U.S., will not allow a fence to be erected along a vulnerable stretch of the Mexican border which happens to be on tribal land.
The Tohono O’odham Indians own the second biggest reservation in the country, about 2.8 million acres in the Arizona desert, and it happens to include a 75-mile border with Mexico that is used daily to smuggle drugs and migrants. Tribal members have vowed to fight the double-layered fence, approved by the House and set to be approved by the Senate this week, along their portion of the Mexican border.
Evidently the tribe of around 15,000 wants to keep the privilege of crossing the border regularly to visit relatives and friends and even perform native ceremonies in both countries. One tribal council member said “animals and our people need to cross freely.”
Unfortunately, that also means that illegal immigrants and drug smugglers will also cross into the U.S. freely. A few years ago, a Congressional investigative report revealed that more than 100,000 pounds of marijuana, 144 grams of cocaine and 6,600 grams of methamphetamine were seized on the Tohono O’odham Nation.
Additionally, migrants are destroying the sensitive vegetation and endangered species as they trample through the desert, leaving more than 4 million pounds of trash annually as they cross it.
Apparently, the Tohono O’odham – which means desert people–are more interested in the trafficking money than preserving their land. A Tribal Police Sergeant says members are offered $400 per person to transport illegal immigrants from the tribal territory to Tucson and much more to carry drugs. A fence would certainly diminish those profits.
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