Border crossings

Keep Out

Image by timo_w2s via Flickr

Along the southern border with Mexico, there are two signs repeated alternately all along the border. One sign says “Keep Out.” The other sign says “All workers welcome.” As long as we have opposing border policies and differing signs, we will have a problem with illegal (undocumented) aliens coming to the US for a better life for themselves and their families.

Please see Immigration reform | Moral obligation | The undocumented | Snowflake, AZ

Jan Brewer

Jan Brewer

Image via Wikipedia

Scorpions for Breakfast, My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America’s Border by Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona. I was hoping for a balanced account of her term in office and particularly Arizona law SB 1070. The subtitle told me that I would be forced to look elsewhere and 228 pages later that was proved correct. I will look elsewhere and I will report on my findings. In the meantime, I suggest The Death of Josseline as a better read and more informative about the state of Arizona’s southern border with Mexico.

Please see Snowflake, AZ | Border crossings | Moral obligation | The undocumented

Immigration reform

The Death of Josselin

Dust jacket

The Death of Josseline, Immigration Stories from the ArizonaMexico Borderlands by Margaret Regan is an eye-opening account of today’s border as seen from both sides. Now I have a much better understanding of why Arizona residents along the state’s southern border are so unhappy with the present situation.

The undocumented traveling across private property and public lands sometimes steal, frequently discard trash, and harm a fragile environment just by their passage. US authorities trying to apprehend the undocumented assert the right to go anywhere at any time in the pursuit of their jobs. This produces an approximation of a war zone with low-flying helicopters and bright lights turning darkness into daylight. As crossing points evolve and change, the action moves from one quiet, rural area to another, causing a loss of privacy and sleep for the residents who have the misfortune to live there.  Some moved to the area to escape from big cities and they object to the presence of both the invaders and the US defenders.

This is my suggestion for reform along our southern border. The undocumented should be supplied with documents for a nominal fee that would allow them to cross back and forth across the border at established crossing points. The documents would also allow them to work legally in the US at the jobs that the undocumented now perform illegally without the protection of labor laws. They would pay taxes and receive the government services to which their humanity entitles them that they now fear to claim because they might be deported. We currently allow guest workers under the H-1B program; this would be a similar program for the less skilled.

The undocumented would be sure to use this program due to its lower cost, smugglers charge $hundreds or $thousands, and its openness would be much safer than crossing wilderness on foot. Requiring employers to hire only documented workers would ensure that fewer, if any, undocumented would try to cross the border illegally. This would be safer for the border crossers, and it would restore tranquility to the border area. It would also be cheaper for the government to enforce than the current program.

In his book Joe’s Law, Sheriff Joe Arpaio makes the point that human traffickers are frequently drug smugglers also. By taking away their profits in human smuggling, we would be reducing the profits that the drug cartels are currently earning. A small step true, but a step in the right direction.

Please see Joe’s Law | The undocumented | Moral obligation | Snowflake, AZ.

My office

My outdoor office

My office

This is my office at 9am on a Monday morning. I spent 20+ years working in an enclosed office in Chicago and Santa Barbara. I also spent another 20+ years working in hospitals in Santa Barbara and Saint George. In between those 20 year stints, I worked at several part-time jobs, some of which kept me outside. I decided that I preferred the great out-of-doors, and now that I am retired, I work out-of-doors as much as weather permits. Here in Southern Utah, weather permits nearly year round, at least for a few hours each day.

It is very peaceful in my office which stretches miles to the South into Arizona. There is no phone ringing or TVs blasting in my office. Bird noises are usually the loudest sounds as they comment on the comings and goings of several neighborhood cats and our two. My office lacks walls and a ceiling and the air conditioning is natural and free and carries only the scents of nature. It is very relaxing and conducive to my main activities, reading and thinking. I could not write the articles I do without the stimulus of the books I read. I could write outside using my laptop and our wireless internet access, but I generally prefer to write inside at my desktop connection to the internet as I am now.

View South


View West


View Northwest


Please see Surf’s up | Sunrise/sunset | Rain | Moh(j)ave Des(s)ert | The clouds of Saint George

Snowflake, AZ


Image by JJSchad via Flickr

Snowflake, Arizona is a small community of approximately 5000 people located at about 5000 feet elevation about 120 miles ESE of Flagstaff. On a recent visit to the area, I was surprised to read in a visitors’ magazine that Snowflake was named for two pioneer families, the Snow family and the Flake family. Since I reside in Saint George, Utah, I am aware of the Snow family which lent its name to a local attraction, Snow Canyon Park.

When I returned home, I started looking for the Flake family on the internet. One prominent member of the family is Congressman Jeff Flake, who was born in Snowflake, named in part for his great-great-grandfather, William J. Flake. Jeff has been a Republican member of Congress since 2001 and is likely to be the next Senator from Arizona replacing the retiring Jon Kyl. I had hoped that Gabby Giffords would be able to contest the seat.

There is an interesting interview with Jeff Flake in the October, 2011, issue of Reason magazine. Jeff is more conservative than I am, but sounds like a reasonable and thoughtful person. We can use more thoughtful members of Congress, whether in the House or the Senate. In the article, he touches on illegal immigration and other matters. I would enjoy the opportunity to discuss the question of the undocumented with him. I think that he would bring an open mind to the discussion and add a perspective that is missing from current discourse. I don’t expect to be able to meet with him, but I hope that Congressional leaders will listen to his input.

Please see Moral obligation