John Ladd’s Cochise County Ranch shares a 10.5-mile border with Mexico. He welcomed President Trump’s 30-foot high wall. In fact, construction of the wall on his land is nearly complete.
“My wife and my dad, he’s 94, it took us six months to realize how quiet things were and how normal it was to be a rancher again,” Ladd said.
Ladd thinks those days of peace are over. With about a month of work left to do, construction was halted while the Biden Administration considers whether it will finish the job.
On Tuesday the President announced he was ending the State of Emergency along the Southern U.S. Border. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Biden said the State of Emergency was “unwarranted.” He also announced no more tax-payer money will be used to construct the wall. In Arizona, the announcement was met with relief by some, and dismay by others like John Ladd.
“Since Biden got elected they’re probably catching 25-30 people a day just on our ranch,” Ladd said.
Two years ago, President Trump declared a State of Emergency along the southern border. It allowed him to take money from the military and use it to build the wall.
“It’s a good first step that there will not be construction of the border wall anymore,” said Sara Ritchie of Kino Border Initiative. “But there is so much more that can be done.”
Last year, President Trump issued the "remain in Mexico policy" shutting off the border to immigrants and asylum seekers. The Kino Border Initiative is a Jesuit run humanitarian organization. It operates on the Mexico side of the Mariposa Border Crossing. While Richie is glad the state of emergency is over, she says the president must change the current border policy.
“It is essentially keeping asylum at a halt, or freeze whatever you would describe that. There is no asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border,” Richie said.
Governor Ducey did not respond to a request for comment. But the Republican Governor’s Association, which he chairs, did. Spokesman Will Reinert said, “Instead of prioritizing the safety and security of Arizonans, Joe Biden caved to the radical left. The drugs, violence, and human trafficking are only going to increase as Democrats dismantle our border’s security.”
Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva sees it differently.
“Trump’s national emergency was never about tax-payer security,” Grijalva said. “It’s was about stealing taxpayer dollars to build a monument to his racist policies while destroying environmental treasures, Native American sacred sites, and border communities in the process.”
John Ladd is a fourth-generation rancher. He’s not going anywhere.
“Border patrol is still doing their job and trying to apprehend everybody that they can,” Ladd said. Until there is an enforceable immigration policy neither are the undocumented.