Here are two people – four, including their wives – who live right in the middle of the illegal immigration debate. They see firsthand illegal border crossings. John Ladd and Fred Davis – both of whom strongly resemble cowboy-typecast actor Sam Elliott – live on or right next to the border.
Quite literally, in John Ladd’s backyard is a fence that separates not just two private properties, but two separate countries. Over the past 30 years, he said his property’s been trespassed by some 500,000 illegal immigrants. And while the conventional political rhetoric is that they’re just coming here for a better life, he said that most of them are ‘dopers.’
Ladd – who lives in the border town of Naco, Arizona – recalled to CNN last year right before the election about his friend being murdered by an ‘illegal.’
“It was in the mid-morning. Our friend Rob Krentz was driving around in his ATV, checking water on his ranch when he happened upon two illegals,” he said. “One acted like he was hurt when he saw Rob coming. Rob drove up on the guy, and the guy stood up and killed him and then shot his dog.”
It’s no surprise that these two ranchers support Donald Trump. Specifically, they like what he’s said on illegal immigration, and they like the idea of a wall. But even they don’t think a massive, physical wall will be the cure.
“My opinion of it is that it’s a play-on words, and there are some areas where you could build a wall,” Ladd told CNN when the news organization visited his ranch in October. “But unless you have agents looking at it, it isn’t going to work.”
He pointed to an area of the fence – which the feds had built in 2006 – where there was a huge gap. It looked like anyone could walk right under it. “There is a $42 million station three and a half miles from here,” his neighbor Fred Davis noted. “They didn’t have enough petty cash to buy a roll of wire. John had to give them a roll of wire, and they haven’t paid him back.”
Obviously, that’s not enough to keep the ‘dopers’ out, but it might keep his cows from wandering into Mexico, and from Mexican cows from wandering onto his ranch.
They may not be quite as gung-ho about Trump’s wall as many of his supporters, but they noted on Fox & Friends that ever since Trump’s taken office and has been enforcing immigration laws, they’ve seen a dramatic drop in illegal border crossings.
“It’s [down] 90 percent, 95 percent,” Ladd told Fox & Friends on Tuesday. “We have a wall that’s existing on our ranch since 2006, and they’re replacing that with an 18-foot Ballard fence, steel tubing, concrete. And with that activity, it’s almost non-existent to see an illegal anymore.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) obviously toes the line when it comes to border security. “The wall is, in my view, immoral, expensive, unwise,” Pelosi said in an interview on Meet The Press. “And when the president says, ‘Well, I promised a wall during my campaign,’ I don’t think he said he was going to pass billions of dollars of cost of the wall on to the taxpayer.”
The two border ranchers invited Pelosi to come see their fence. But she ignored them.
So, do these ranchers agree with Pelosi about the border wall? “Absolutely not. You know she talks about splitting the community up, all the communities that I know about, all of the cities along the border already have high fences,” Davis said. “Where the wall is necessary is in a lot of the outlying areas where you still only have a four-wire barbed wire fence between Mexico and us.”
“The wall itself is just a tool in the kit, but you’ve gotta put boots on the ground to go with it to make it effective,” he added. “And that’s been part of the problem in places they have a wall now.”
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