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Southern Arizonans call for secure border at Congressional field hearing

(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

PHOENIX — Southern Arizonans minced few words Monday as they called for a secure border during a Congressional field hearing held in the state.

“We have damage being done to our fences,” Nogales rancher Dan Bell said. “Our watering facilities were damaged and drained. Our vehicles are stolen. Homes are broken into and valuables taken.”

The hearing was hosted in Sahuarita by U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District, after the House passed a bill that allows for a full threat assessment of the nation’s southern border. H.R. 4482 will also study trade and immigration.

“Contrary to what we’ve been told, the border is not secure,” she said. “And the consequences of this failure are felt by our residents every day. That’s why southern Arizonans’ perspectives are so important.”

Most people at the hearing agreed with McSally.

“Violence against innocent citizens, public officials, law enforcement and rival drug, human-trafficking groups continues to escalate,” Cochise County Sheriff Mark Daniels said.

However, some urged officials to remember that no matter what steps they may consider or take, they will affect those who call the area home.

“It’s home to me, and it’s home to millions of others,” pastor Mark Adams said. “Too often, the border has been seen as a place to defend, as a place to be afraid of.

“As you all undertake the task of making laws, and trying to oversee the policies that make our border secure, I really want to encourage you to remember that the border is home.”

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