Here's how President Trump's wall will impact border towns

Posted: 5:59 PM, Jan 26, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-27 18:56:52Z

With border security and illegal immigration being on the top of President Donald Trump's agenda, many border communities are waiting and wondering about the impact his proposed wall would have on life in the area.

Even those who support President Trump are skeptical that building a wall will alleviate immigration problems.

Human rights groups called the idea of building a wall a "human rights crisis," saying it would lead to more deaths in the harsh desert, as migrants were pushed farther out into the rugged, remote areas to cross over.  Proponents felt a wall was necessary to stop the flow of drugs and human smuggling taking place in America's backyard every single day.

Tim Foley, with the group Arizona Border Recon, lived near the U.S-Mexico fence in the small border town of Sasabe.

"There's an 80-mile stretch of the border where 40 percent of all the drugs come through. We're sitting smack dab in the middle of that 80-mile stretch," Foley said.

He explained it was because the area was very remote, with few roads and few agents. Cartel leaders took advantage of the fact that there were less eyes watching them and less boots on the ground to stop them.

Immigration advocates said many of the illegal immigrants were desperate South Americans looking for their families; looking for a new start in the land of opportunity — or simply trying to escape violence in their home countries.

Foley said he had set up hidden trail cameras along the rugged hills to capture who was coming across that border.  His cameras showed lines of men carrying big backpacks filled with drugs. In the past, Foley said he has followed the men who would drop their backpacks and run if he was spotted.

According to Foley, the backpacks were usually filled with marijuana and confiscated by Border Patrol.

He challenged immigration advocates to come out to his home and see what he was seeing.

"Come on down here and see what I see that's coming across," Foley said. "There are no women and children coming here. They may be coming through some place else. Down here it's all men between their mid-20s and 40s. I don't see women and children out here in this treacherous country."

Foley drove ABC15 out to the fence separating the U.S. from Mexico. It was a thick razor-wire fence and a metal barricade about three feet tall, easy enough to hop over.  The fences ended abruptly as the land sloped up toward a mountain.

Foley said he isn't sure that building a wall in the area would be successful.

"I don't know how you're going to get it up and over the top of that mountain. I think the money can be used in a better way which would benefit the economy a whole lot more. You can employ people forever with the amount of money they're talking about spending," Foley said.

He said he supported President Trump, but he remains cautious about any changes at the border.

"Hope is a four letter word. I've had hope in the past five administrations but nothing's ever been done," Foley said.

He showed ABC15 footprints along the washes that he said were left by illegal immigrants. 

"They used to move just at night, now they're moving during the day. This whole area is pretty much controlled by them. They move at will, whenever they feel like moving, they move," Foley said.

He said there were cartel scout hide outs in the hills, watching the action on the ground. Warning moving crews about possible border patrol agents heading their way.

Foley also showed ABC15 the multi-million dollar towers installed by the federal government to track movement in the area.

"They spent a lot of money on that thing, but these guys are so smart they know where to walk so it doesn't see them.  We have all this high technology stuff and we're getting our butts kicked with radios and binoculars.  Their low tech is beating our high tech," Foley said.

He felt the answer to solving the problem was having more agents on the ground. One of his big concerns were the men he saw on his cameras who were not carrying drugs and they did not appear to be South American.

"I've seen Sudanese, Somalis...we don't know who they are," Foley said. "Once they get into the city and blend in, we don't know what their intentions are. That's all we want to do is make sure they're verified."

He stressed he was not against immigration, but he wonders why they're sneaking in the U.S. instead of entering legally.

The environmental group Sierra Club is also expressing concern about the proposed wall. A spokesman sent us this statement today:

"Not only will the construction of a wall needlessly produce more dangerous carbon pollution, it will cause flooding, harm border communities, disrupt wildlife, and tarnish the image and reputation of the borderlands and its people -- all while failing to have the impact on immigration that Trump wants. Walling off our country is a billion dollar boondoggle as well as an environmental and a humanitarian disaster waiting to happen. "

President Trump has stated his plans call for the hiring of thousands of border patrol agents, where they will be stationed has not been announced at this time.

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