Monday, May 13, 2013


On the way to Blogcon, I struck up a conversation with a longtime Texas rancher who was headed home. We ended up talking about the real situation on the border. "Rancher X" owns a large ranch near MacAllen, Texas. The following is not word for word, but captured from my notes during a two hour discussion.

The entire border area is dominated by corruption. There are corrupt judges, corrupt ICE agents, corrupt sheriffs, and it's not just me saying that: you can read about indictments and convictions every week. It seems like there's a new federal indictment of a district judge, a border patrol agent, a local sheriff, etc. coming down that often.

We're one of the poorest areas in the country, so lots of federal dollars are headed here. So it's not fair to say that all of the corruption is just fueled by the drugs, humans and other stuff smuggled over the border. Also, I shouldn't say "smuggled", because it's just flowing over the border. All of the money corrupts every layer of government. Remember that officials get elected with money, and they are put into office by money.

Mexico: a Preview of the Chaos to Come Here in the U.S.

Here's something important to consider : As people lose confidence in law enforcement and judges, the civil society decays.

That's what's happened in Mexico. And we're just a couple of decades behind them.

In Mexico, I think we're seeing a preview of the United States in maybe 20 or 30 years.

Here's another important concept: don't spend more money on border security!

The money you spend on border security, getting more and more layers of law enforcement involved, is financing drug cartels. You know why? Because these layers of "human security" are corruptible by large amounts of money.

On a Physical Barrier or a Security Fence

A fence is a no-brainer. There are fences on the border in the cities. And they work. They're not perfect, but they drive smuggling traffic into the unprotected rural areas.

Do you have a fence at home? Most people do. Since when is anyone against a fence?

Only on the Mexican border do people oppose a fence.

In fact, there was an 18-foot levy built near us a while back and even that, while not for security reasons, drove smuggling traffic away.

The Hidden Secret: Oil and the Cartels

So here's the deal no one talks about with the border. The oil business and the cartels are intimately linked together. How "official" that linkage is up for debate. How high up the cartels and the oil companies are linked is up for debate.

So here's the backdrop. The whole south Texas border area is an oil field. The oil companies dominate the state. The landowner, ranchers like us, are subservient to the oil companies.

There are all kinds of right-of-ways and roads and oil infrastructure on the ranches. Which means oil tankers, maintenance trucks, all kinds of vehicles are entering and leaving our ranch every day. We might have 300 or 400 trucks coming in and out of our ranch.

Here's the deal with that: no one knows what those trucks are. Are they smuggling stuff? Or are they legitimate? No one knows, no one knows who is coming or going. Including the oil companies!

Why don't the oil companies know who's coming or going? Because they sub out the work. And the subs sub out the work. And on down the line. Who's authorized to be using the oil companies' infrastructure? No one knows who's authorized.

A Dirty Little Secret: The Border Patrol and Oil Infrastructure

Here's something crazy: the border patrol is not authorized to operate on oil company infrastructure, ostensibly for reasons of safety. So you've got heavy trucks, loaders, cranes moving heaven knows what.

A typical load might be 6,000 pounds of pot. This kind of volume demands 18-wheelers. And 18-wheelers demand oil field infrastructure.

And the oil companies do not involve themselves with the detail of these logistics. The details aren't visible to the oil companies, intentionally or unintentionally.

It's like a UPS driver on your street. How do you know whether that's a real UPS driver? Unless you had some way of authenticating and verifying that driver, you don't know if it's a legitimate UPS truck.

The oil companies have lost control of the border area. Because of the subcontracting, the oil companies appear to have some level of "plausible deniability". They can claim they don't know or don't have control of their infrastructure.

In the early 20th century, the oil companies locked up huge swaths of lands. And the infrastructure is extremely difficult to track ownership of. There are thousands of companies and joint ventures involved, and these J.V.s are "classified" as trade secrets, so you can't find out who is really responsible for the roads or whatever. There is no way for the landowners or the federal government to control oil field traffic. Under Texas law, the mineral estate (the oil company) is the dominant estate. It is actually called "Dominant Estate Law".

Why spending more on border security is nonsensical

Here's how high volume human smuggling operates. Our ranch has miles of highway frontage. These huge criminal operations run massive, sophisticated convoy operations.

They'll put a scout vehicle out on the highway to see if the border patrol is around. There are scouts and enforcers and what not. Sometimes these people are being held hostage or as sex slaves and are coming across the border against their will. The enforcers are there to prevent escapes.

But back to the scouts: if it's all clear, some Suburbans will pull up. Each Suburban can hold 30 people, seriously. So once nightfall comes, the vehicles pop open and everyone starts moving.

And a single Border Patrol unit is trying to catch 100 people? Seriously? For those 100 folks, Border Patrol might catch 7, 40 might perish, and the rest make it to the U.S.

Most of the border area is sand. And the Border Patrol can't do pursuits because the catalytic converters can cause huge brush-fires. And it's not just sand, there are huge bee colonies. Aggressive bee colonies that are crazy dangerous.

And the Border Patrol isn't like it's incorruptible. There are corrupt BP folks.

The Private Prison Scam

We have major private prisons in our area. Here's how the private prison scam works.

While Mexico has a "return treaty", meaning if we catch a Mexican national, we can return them through official channels. But OTMs [Other Than Mexicans] often don't have return treaties.

In our district, when you catch an OTM, there's a hearing with mandatory detention. Mandatory detention, which ties right into private prisons and the money used to fund those detentions.

These folks can spend 17 years in prison. And you're paying for it all.

A few years back, there were thousands of Eritreans captured trying to cross the border. I don't even know what an Eritrean is. But if there's no return treaty, they're languishing in private prisons. And you're paying for it.

Upset about illegal kids in schools?

That's a spit in the bucket compared to the private prison business. The costs are unbelievable. And the medical care is probably far better than what these folks could get in their home countries.

The federal government pays for those private prisons with your tax dollars and I guarantee private prisons are expensive. They are publicly traded companies and their stock prices have generally skyrocketed thanks to all this "homeland security" hoopla.

More Security Spending Isn't the Answer

The money you and your community sends to the border is incentivizing the wrong behavior.

All this money is being spent and it's having the consequence of just robbing legitimate citizens of their freedoms -- like no search and seizure. All of this homeland security stuff just means I am stripping down to get on an airplane - the immigrants and drug smugglers don't go through the checkpoint - they just walk around it or drive around it because it's an oilfield with roads.

More money spent down here has just made things worse. It adds more layers of government and more nooks and crannies that get corrupted. Things keep getting worse, and it's government corruption behind much of it.

Example: a while back, a bunch of sheriffs got arrested. They were literally part of the cartels. They weren't paid enough to take risks and they certainly don't have the resources to pursue the smugglers.

So the money you send to the border isn't really spent on security. How much do you hear about illegal immigration in Alabama. Well, I've got news for you: it's happening. You think the cartels can't buy some boats?

So think before you advocate for more "border security". The border security bulls*** is counter-productive.

When you send more money, think about more border patrol agents sitting on the highway and the scouts avoiding them.

That money adds layers of government, susceptible to corruption, and it takes away money to police your community.

You want to secure the border - prosecute corrupt public officials. It's much better use of our prison space.

I think the key points of the corruption issue and the actual inconvenience to law abiding citizens are the most logical and motivating things to consider. People are so quick to demand border security but they don't make the connection that putting police on the border means taking that money out of the budget of the cities around the country for police on their city streets.

Plus, 99 percent of the drugs and immigrants are just passing through to get to the cities around the country where the pay is higher and there are huge markets for drugs. We are in sparsely populated rural areas. We aren't smoking all those tons of weed--they are going to cities around the U.S.

And a border wall won't work everywhere, but it's one hell of a good start.


Anonymous said...

Every time someone says a fence won't work, ask them when was the last time someone walked into Area 51.

Anonymous said...

If we incorporated our land border security into the coast guard OR created another semi-military branch similar in constitution to the coast guard but to guard the land borders I think we could have effective and virtually incorruptable security. The coast guard is exemplary using their model would result in an exemplary and committed border security force

Jefferson Ohio said...

Send National Guard and reserve units to the border, locked and loaded, for their two week yearly training. Stick 1 border agent in with every four military.

This article was excellent.

Anonymous said...

I think a few A-10's shooting to kill within certain zones would solve the problem real quick. Advertise it in advance.

Anonymous said...

Probably not the best idea to go onto private land and start shooting in the middle of an oil and gas operation. How would you even know who to shoot at? Guns and flammable tanks aren't the best combination. I don't think the oil companies are going to agree to that.

Anonymous said...

Shooting almost never causes fires or explosions. You've been watching too many silly TV programs and movies. Unlike you, I'm not a brainwashed and inexperienced fool, over the last forty plus years, I've fired (literally) millions of rounds of common military fmj and hollow point law enforcement type ammo. They do NOT cause fires OR explosions. said...

This chaos at the border is EXACTLY what the left -- and Barack Obama -- want.

It's just that darn impeachment thing that seems to be now interrupting the plan...

K-Bob said...

Good Article!

I understand the point, but we have to have both. The "fence" isn't meaningful all by itself. We have to have barriers, fencing, checkpoints and manpower, or we have nothing much, really.

And yes, the money really is a big deal. The cartels have Billion$ to operate with now. Billions and an infrastructure, including large cargo planes.

So an ordinary barrier is just about as useful as a bunch of random logs thrown in the way. It takes a barrier with armed men on our side. Weak, corruptable men, will end up in the mix, to be sure, but not all. (BTW, that's just the age old problem of the military--turncoats--applied to the borders. UCMJ was written with that in mind)

Anonymous said...

Send the military to occupy the border? This is America. The area is heavily populated and has the largest inland ports.
Do people think the people who live in South Texas should have to subject themselves to military searches with no probable cause just because they live on the border? Why stop in South Texas? Have the military occupy Chicago and Houston - because there are drugs and illegals and cartels in Chicago, too!
The drug war is only stripping law abiding citizens of their freedoms and liberals and conservatives both fall for the hysteria and demand that the military get involved on US soil and start harassing US citizens.

Anonymous said...

Why not cede the Hispanic areas such as Hidalgo county to Mexico and build the fence to their North? This is what I would call a stategic retreat - lose a bit of territory to save the rest of the USA. And let's accept the facts on the ground - large swaths of Southern Texas are already third world in culture and government. We have already lost them, let us not throw good money after the bad.

Charlie said...

Yes anonymous, send the military to our border. South Texans will not be bothered by military guarding the border. The searches without probable cause that are happening within 100 miles of our border are the result of not securing the border.

How does securing the border strip law abiding Americans of our rights?