Crises at the southern border – Updated –

My mom and I took a long day trip to Gila Bend, AZ on March 23, 2021.  It is a small town with about 1733 residents.  It has a small health clinic, a combined town hall/museum building, a few local parks, and a variety of small businesses. 

The lady working at the restaurant we ate at, told my mom that all the residents of Gila Bend are on edge. 

I wrote my original blog post on March 21, 2021 about this issue based on Fox News reports that were on television. 

Upon arriving in Gila Bend, AZ, on March 23, 2021 I was wondering if there was some designated place I was not finding where the immigrants were at. 

We spoke to our family friend on the phone after we arrived to Gila Bend. She informed us that there were actually 16 or 17 people that made up the immigrant population that were dropped off at Gila Bend.

I am grateful my mom and I went to Gila Bend to see the town firsthand for ourselves.

And I am not minimizing the local residents concerns. 

However, the Fox News stories left me believing there were hundreds (or thousands) of immigrants that descended upon Gila Bend. 

Although there did not end up being that amount of people dropped there in this instance; having driven there has since lead to a lot more questions in my mind. 

Simple logistics, for starters. The map below shows where Gila Bend, AZ is located in relation to the Mexican Border.

Where Gila Bend, AZ is located in relation to the Mexican Border – and highways.

It has been reported that these were families from Venezuela and Chile.

Below is a map that shows these two countries are in South America, not even Central America.

Map of Latin America from Pinterest

The map of Mexico (below) shows the entirety of that country in relation to the American States on Mexico’s Northern Border, basically Texas, Arizona, and California.

So let’s drill down into the two Mexican highways that lead to Gila Bend, AZ. Highways 8 and 2.

Highway 8 ends at what is known as Rocky Point, Mexico (Puerto Penasco), largely a tourist destination.

But take a close look at Highway 2 highlighted in RED on the map below.

The questions I began thinking about also stem from the logistical fact that the borders are wide open.

Not only are they open, but the border check points on Highway 8, this side of the American border are also now unmanned. (I know because my mom and I went through one on Interstate 8).

So what is the purpose of “immigrants sneaking across the border” when the borders are open? Could it be that this open border policy with expressly stated preference to accepting “unaccompanied children” has created a more sinister usefulness by bad actors interest in these children?

Could it be that Highway 2, just south of the border, is now a transportation highway that makes it more efficient to recycle these children back and forth across the border due to this new-found usefulness based on the Administrations policy, as decoys for bad actors smuggling other contraband across the border?

How do we differentiate between the perpetuators and the policy-makers if they are all integral in this supply-chain?

Published by Trudy Sobocienski

My blog, "Beyond Leadership" is a creative place to share my personal feelings and thoughts while working in leadership roles for a variety of Alaska Native organizations, both for and not-for profit entities. An incredible leader and mentor of mine once asked while we were in Washington, DC, "What happened to you between the ages of 7-10 that motivated you to serve in a native leadership capacity". I was struck by that poignant thought and as such, include actual entries from my mother and my diaries beginning in the early 1970's. I enjoy sharing these excerpts because it captures the parallels she and I were experiencing throughout life, from two separate worldviews. Hers as a young mother of four and mine as her eldest child. I have never came across a book on leadership that lays bare a leaders personal feelings, thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams they were experiencing. So for me, my goal is two-fold: 1. Share the incredible life my parents created for my siblings and I growing up in remote Alaska; and, 2) Sharing my humanity, through my personal diaries and journals, while serving as the youngest-ever President/CEO for the Alaska Native Health Board. There are passages that will include significant policy issues I was working on throughout my career and travels. There are many more passages that do not. I cannot speak for my mom's passages, because I am reading them as I share them here, with you; with her permission of course.

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