Eco-un­friendly border

The Washington Times Weekly - - Off The Tracks -

How strange that Al Gore never talks about this en­vi­ron­men­tal catas­tro­phe:

The latest bat­tle in the war on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion isn't over the smug­gling of un­doc­u­mented work­ers, it's over the trash they leave be­hind.

Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and border ac­tivists say the garbage dumped in the desert by il­le­gal im­mi­grants and their smug­glers is stag­ger­ing.

And the cleanup is cost­ing tax­pay­ers mil­lions.

In 2006 alone, more than 1.18 mil­lion pounds of trash was col­lected along south­ern Ari­zona border, many in the meet­ing spots where im­mi­grants rest, change clothes and wait to hitch a ride fur­ther north with a smug­gler.

[So much of the trash left be­hind is a re­flec­tion of des­per­a­tion and ex­ploita­tion]:

“You can find ev­ery­thing,” said Shela McFarlin, spe­cial as­sis­tant for in­ter­na­tional pro­grams at the Ari­zona Bureau of Land Man­age­ment. “Blan­kets, air­line tick­ets, Bibles, wed­ding pic­tures, pho­tos of chil­dren, school re­ports, be­cause clearly peo­ple don't tend to throw away ev­ery­thing they've brought with them — they're forced to.”

[It would seem, then, that a com­mit­ted en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist would op­pose mas­sive, unchecked il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion]:

“What we're be­gin­ning to won­der is how ex­ten­sive is the prob­lem?” McFarlin said. “How many mil­lions of pounds of garbage? How many roads are re­ally dam­aged? How many miles of il­le­gal trails?” [. . . ]

“The first thing you no­tice if you were to drive across some of this land is you see wa­ter bot­tles, lots of wa­ter bot­tles,” McFarlin said. “Where peo­ple stop to wait to be picked up — we call them ‘layup’ spots — then you will see more of the cloth­ing, medicine bot­tles, pa­pers, ev­ery­thing.

“We re­cently cleaned up one lo­ca­tion with al­most 4,000 back­packs left be­hind,” she said.

— “Groups Strug­gle to Clean Up Mess Il­le­gal Im­mi­grants Leave Be­hind,” posted May 7 at

To pro­tect and serve. Po­lice of­fi­cers take an oath to up­hold the law

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