Illegal Immigration Costly for Southeastern Arizona Ranchers

By J.D. Wallace, KOLD News 13 Reporter

posted 5/18/05

In southeasternArizona, one cow needs about 50 acres of land. Rob Krentz has about 35,000 acres. But for this lifelong rancher, the people, illegal immigrants crossing his land, not the cattle, have him concerned.

“We’re being over-run, and it’s costing us lots and lots of money,� Krentz said.

Such a large ranch already requires plenty of work; however, the growing masses of people from Mexico and other places south of the border who cross Krentz’s land take a toll on his fences, water lines, and his pocket book.

“We figured it up over the last five years and it’s cost us over $8 million,� Krentz said. “Cattle don’t like people walking through, so they move. So, cattle weight loss, destruction of fences, breaking our pipelines, they break them in two and (the pipes) run for two or three days before we find it.�

The Border Patrol showed up on Krentz’s ranch, and he says the agents are present; however, if the patrol is to keep control, Krentz says either agents need to be present, or the patrol needs a different approach.

“Maybe more border patrol agents, I’m not sure, but they need to use their resources better,� Krentz said.

Krentz says that decades ago, when he was a kid, he knew the few immigrants who would cross from Mexico and look for work on the ranches. Now, he says, hundreds of immigrants simply cross the ranches as they try to get to large cities.

The Border Patrol has increased its agent count in the Tucson Sector over recent years, with now more than 2000 in the sector.