Updated: Apr 9
A Steel Truth series on the Southern International Border
Arizona borderland ranchers have suffered tremendously from the waves of illegal immigration that have coursed through their property, burglarized their homes and murdered, kidnapped and robbed them and their neighbors.
Jim Chilton, a fifth-generation Arizona cattle rancher, lives on a 50,000-acre ranch east of Nogales. His ranch, which has 5.5 miles along the Arizona border, was separated from Mexico by only a four-strand barbed wire livestock fence until construction on a 30-foot-high steel and concrete bollard-style fence began in July.
Steel Truth recently visited with prominent ranchers and law enforcement officers, to hear their concerns about the severe consequences of reopening the border by a Jan. 20 executive order signed by President Joe Biden.
Some of the photos and videos of the border wall presented in this series have never before been seen by the public. In March, the Biden administration ordered the Border Patrol and Homeland Security to cease cooperating with the working press.
Border area ranchers and law enforcement officers, who are not under orders from the federal government, have provided Steel Truth with tours of the border between Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico, including a road that was recently constructed and a nearly constructed stretch of the wall that has apparently never been seen by the working press.
The Border Fence in Arizona was almost completed
The fence along the south edge of the Chilton’s ranch would have been completed by now, if not for the sudden work stoppage ordered by Biden. The gaps left behind provide easy access to America for illegal immigrants from throughout the world. Chilton found 120 illegal aliens were recorded as they hiked past one of his trail cameras--a camera that had not previously recorded any human activity.
Jim and Sue Chilton, who have lived on this picturesque ranch since 1987, have endured several burglaries by illegal aliens, as well as damages from cut water lines and fires costing more than $1 million. A Border Patrol agent responding to a sensor on his ranch was shot and almost killed on June 12, 2018. Bodies of illegal immigrants have been found on his ranch. The Chiltons have placed drinking fountains throughout their ranch to prevent more deaths.
Sue Chilton, a retired school teacher and curriculum creator, taught Spanish to mostly Mexican and Yaqui Indian children in the 1960s at McClintock High School. She and Jim, then a municipal financial consultant, created a plan that saved the Yaqui community of Guadalupe from destruction, through annexation by the City of Tempe.
They have been living at the front lines of a battleground between Americans who believe in the sovereignty of the nation and those who prefer an open border.
The ranchers, and law enforcement officers who patrol this territory, are the most familiar with the impact of illegal immigration on lives and livelihoods of Borderland residents.
They bear the brunt of this crisis, which affects Americans in all 50 states. The plague of heroin and opioid addictions, as well as the rise in sex slavery of women and children, is largely due to the open border policies of recent presidential administrations.
Trump policies to halt illegal immigration are reversed
The Trump administration was the first one to seriously address the problem, and bring illegal immigration reasonably under control. The construction of the border wall, along with new technology and the Trump administration’s support of the efforts of the Homeland Security agencies, had brought the numbers down significantly.
Jim Chilton delivered a speech at the White House in which he thanked President Trump for eliminating an Obama-era regulation adversely affecting water rights for ranchers. He also spoke at a national Farm Bureau event, in which he told Trump to “Build the Wall!”, after he was invited onto the platform by the president.
The ranchers and law enforcement officers who showed us around the territory where they live and work have been living with the ebb and flow of illegal immigration for decades. They say that this recent surge of illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and human traffickers is on track to break all records. More than 170,000 illegal aliens crossed the Southern border in March.
Along the brand-new border road, constructed on a stretch of land set aside in the early 20th Century and named the Roosevelt Easement, there are several large construction yards. Before all construction was halted Jan. 20 by the Biden Executive Order, these spacious, leveled fields were beehives of activity, where workers were mixing cement, receiving their work orders for the day, and driving out to their work stations to complete the historic, massive construction project.
Now a few pieces of construction equipment remain, as well as thousands of tons of enormous steel fence posts and gates, which were slated to be installed to provide security for the American people.
As Jim Chilton drove us on the steep, brand-new road on the Roosevelt Easemen, he recalled that there was no trouble with illegal immigration when he first moved to this ranch in 1987. He enjoyed excellent relations with his Mexican neighbors, as he and his fellow ranchers have for generations.
However—now that Biden has invited all the world’s population to flood across the southern border, regardless of whether they are infected with disease, possess a violent criminal record, or are smuggling in deadly narcotics or sex slaves—the residents of the borderland are confronted once again with hellish circumstances.
The attached photos show the contrast between the south border of the Chilton Ranch in 2018—when Jim Chilton gave a tour to Martha McSally, then a U.S. representative and Senate candidate—and March 2021, after a road was built and a high fence installed. The Chiltons had advocated for a wall and road in that location for many years. There remain many gaps in the fence, but those gaps can be eliminated if the stop work order is rescinded.
"President Biden: Close the gaps!" This entire road, and this 30-foot high fence along the southern Arizona border, west of Nogales, were built during the Trump administration. These are tremendous improvements over the four-strand barbed wire livestock fence that used to mark the International Border. This stretch of the fence was just weeks away from being completed, when a Biden executive order forced all work to a halt.