Resolution on Illegal Immigration & Letter to New Mexico Governor Richardson
(Note: Both the Resolution and the Letter are excellent and should be widely posted and shared -- nationwide!)
August 11, 2005
Dear Directors & Friends,
The 15th Annual August BBQ was a fabulous success! We had a great turnout at both the Board of Directors meeting and BBQ, and the guest speakers were very much enjoyed and appreciated.
The following is a Coalition Resolution that was voted on at the August 5th Board of Directors meeting, and a letter written by the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association Executive Director, Caren Cowan, to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson concerning the illegal immigration issue:
REQUESTING A DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY TO ADDRESS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT IMPACTS IN ARIZONA AND NEW MEXICO
WHEREAS, due to the increased surveillance and apprehensions in Arizona, Texas and California, New Mexico's border has become a virtual highway for illegal immigrants from around the world to gain access into the United States, and
WHEREAS, New Mexicans are bearing the adverse impacts of this influx, and
WHEREAS, there is a report of 500 illegals a day crossing a ranch in Luna County, and
WHEREAS, we are receiving reports of threats to life and welfare of individuals and families, livestock death, stress on cattle health, destruction of property and water facilities, theft and loss of water and human caused wildfires, and
WHEREAS, repeated contacts with Border Patrol, the Congressional Delegation, the Livestock Board, Mexican officials and Governors of Arizona and New Mexico by a variety of sources have only resulted in proposed long range solutions that do not address the immediate problems, and
WHEREAS, our County Sheriffs are already understaffed and overtaxed in terms of geographic area to cover and people to serve, and
WHEREAS, these volumes of people are taxing our local governments well beyond their means to provide health care, and
WHEREAS, emergency rooms from El Paso to Lordsburg and beyond are overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people seeking and requiring medical care, and
WHEREAS, human waste and trash clean up in the wake of this mass human movement is a significant concern, and
WHEREAS, terrorist movement through our state is also a concern, and
WHEREAS, people are coming directly from their countries with no medical screening whatsoever and transitioning directly into our population, creating a bio-security threat for both human and animal health, and
WHEREAS, a declaration of a state of emergency could bring attention and much needed resources to New Mexicans and others in desperate need of help, and
WHEREAS, thousands of illegal entrants are dying from starvation, dehydration and exposure, and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Directors of the Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties that an emergency declaration be issued for the border counties in Arizona and New Mexico, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Governors Janet Napolitano and Bill Richardson provide personnel for increased border surveillance and citizen protection and fiscal assistance to the counties and individuals who are bearing the cost of our border dilemma for society and the nation as a whole.
Done this 5th day of August, 2005, at the Board of Directors meeting in Glenwood, New Mexico.
Ron White, Coalition President
Letter to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson
August 9, 2005
The Honorable Bill Richardson
Office of the Governor
State Capitol, Room 400
490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
Dear Governor Richardson:
On behalf of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association (NMCGA) and its membership in all 33 counties, I am writing to urgently request that you immediately declare a state of emergency along the border between Mexico and New Mexico.
As you are probably aware, our state's border has become a virtual highway for illegal immigrants from around the world to gain access into the United States largely due to the increased surveillance in Arizona, Texas and California.
Some of this influx has actually been called a benefit to our U.S. economy in supplementing the labor, particularly in the area of unskilled and low wage labor. We do not dispute this assertion.
However, it is wholly unacceptable for New Mexicans to bear the lion's share of the adverse impacts of this illegal labor force.
One NMCGA member, by the U.S. Border Patrol's own estimate, has some 500 illegals A DAY crossing his ranch.
He has suffered livestock death losses as well as the negative impacts of stress on cattle health, destruction of property including the loss of tens of thousands of gallons of water, a pasture burned and fences literally rolled up and hauled away.
Last month there was a running gun battle on his property in broad daylight as Mexican nationals attempted to rob and kidnap illegals on the U.S. side of the border.
He fears daily for the life and welfare of his family.
Unfortunately, his case is the norm rather than the exception for ranchers and landowners along the border.
There have been numerous contacts with the Border Patrol, the congressional delegation, the Livestock Board, Mexican officials and your office from a variety of sources.
While everyone has been sympathetic and attempted to look at long-range solutions, such as increased Border Patrol agents, these solutions will take many months, if not years, to provide relief.
Our people do not have years to wait for relief.
Last week we learned that ranchers will be provided radios with which they may immediately contact local law enforcement authorities for assistance.
Again, a nice gesture, but what real help will this provide?
County sheriffs are already understaffed and overtaxed in terms of geographic area to cover and people to serve.
Arizona families along the Mexican border call the Border Patrol and the local sheriff when illegals are dropped on their property or along county roads.
Those calls routinely go unanswered.
Additionally, these volumes of people crossing into our country are taxing our local governments well beyond their means in providing health care to non-paying patients.
Emergency rooms from El Paso to Lordsburg and beyond are overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people seeking and requiring medical care.
Trash clean-up in the wake of such mass human movement is yet another concern.
Terrorist movement is often cited as a concern around the lack of border security, which is valid.
However, given the global range of many of the people crossing illegally into our country, bio-security for both human and animal health is a tremendous issue.
People are coming directly from the jungles around the world with literally no health or disease screening whatsoever, and transitioning directly into our population.
We have come to the conclusion that you may be the only person who can offer real assistance in this dire situation.
A declaration of a state of emergency on your part could and should bring attention and much needed resources to New Mexicans and others in desperate need of help.
And it is not only New Mexicans you will be offering humanitarian assistance to those who cross the border illegally.
There are numerous horror stories of "coyotes" that leave people stranded without water and food in the desert, many times to die.
We would hope that an emergency declaration would result in not only increased border surveillance and citizen protections -- including but not limited to the National Guard and State Police -- but also fiscal assistance to the counties and individuals who are bearing the entire cost of our border dilemma for society and the nation as a whole.
If you would like to meet with us and others on this issue, we are available at your convenience.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this desperate request.
There are New Mexicans who can no longer count on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness promised in our Declaration of Independence.
Caren Cowan Executive Director
New Mexico Congressional Delegation
New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture, I. Miley Gonzales, PhD
New Mexico Livestock Board Director, Daniel Manzanares
Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties
New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau
Central Office Manager
Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties
P.O. Box 125
Glenwood, New Mexico 88039