Friday, January 27, 2006

Border case

I get phone calls.

Not just from clients or from relatives checking in, but from friends and family who think I must watch illegal immigrants run across my front lawn every morning on their way to stealing a high-paying job without paying taxes.

This is how the national media has portrayed the border issue, with a particular emphasis on Arizona's expansive (and mostly unguarded) border with Mexico.

The only immigrants I ever watch run across my lawn in the morning are the pup coyotes who have become quite the predator of cottontail rabbits in our neighborhood. I saw a bobcat with the body of an alley cat and a head the size of a well-hydrated melon the other day, but I didn't stop to ask it for its green card. Truth be told, I wasn't all that inspired to get out of my car for a closer look. (I'll leave that for the joggers).

My mother has witnessed a small coyote leap a 10-foot fence. How did this wild dog leap a 10-foot fence? Survival was on the other side. It was motivated. It didn't think about the height of the fence, it only knew it had to get to the other side where a large field houses dozens of potential food sources.

Now, this fence hasn't always been here. It was only constructed about two years ago when a new subdivision was constructed along the northern portion of this high-reaching Sonoran bajada (desert hill side). Coyotes have been roaming these desert hills and floors long before we were ever here, and no matter what obstacles we put in their path, they find some new way to thrive. They don't really have a choice, but when you have 10 millenia of desert instinct pumping through your blood, adjusting does not take generations. It takes just one motivated coyote and the whole pack picks up the new tricks.

I offer this minor lesson to make a broader point about the impossibility of guarding a border in the Sonoran Desert. This place does not honor arbitrary lines. If it rains in Sonora (the northern Mexico state which borders Arizona), it rains in Tucson and probably Phoenix. If it's a 10-year drought in the southern Arizona desert region, it's a 10-year drought in Nogales. Vegetation and animal life spread their seed without regard to citizenship.

It's this way because all life comes with a natural will to survive, and in the desert, that will is superior to man's governance of it. One slight change in one cactus that improves its survival will be copied like a hot stock tip. As saline and hard as the soil is in Arizona, those that choose to call the Sonoran Desert home learn to dig deep roots and exist in spite of elements that suggest any other possibility.

If life is so bad in Mexico that parents can't feed their children, no fence, no wall, and no army is going to stop the continuous flow of migrants from their will to survive.

I've known many illegals here in Phoenix, and once you get past the language barrier you realize they are here because they are motivated. Deportation is not a limitation, it's just a temporary annoyance. They'll be back.

This is a way of life in Sonoran Desert, and this desert honors those who most desire to exist.

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