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Minutemen patrol AZ / Mex border

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(First posted April 7 at PolState.com, a site I own.)

When your job is to reduce illegal immigration you’ve got a tough row to hoe, especally if you’re on the Mexico/US border. There is no area more permeable than the 370-mile Arizona/ Mexico border. I live about 70 miles away.

Recognizing this fact this week the not-really-sure-why-they’re-named Minuteman Project of about 150 to 1,000 (figures depends upon who’s giving them) took up positions in and around and in airplanes Naco, AZ to, let’s say, dissuade Mexicans from crossing into the US.

Though there is a much renewed focus on illegal immigration – and 500 new Border Patrol agents – there is also some fancy figure footwork going on. The number of illegals reportedly dropped by half in Minuteman’s first day of operation. Anyone attaching figures to this situation are “laughable” because if we could accurately count how many illegals are crossing we wouldn’t have a problem. Links 1, 2, 3, 4.

There are already claims of the vigilante side of things going too far.

Carol Capas, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman, said the 26-year-old man from Obregon, Mexico, told agents he was physically restrained and forced to hold a shirt while his picture was taken and he was videotaped.

The shirt read: “Bryan Barton caught an illegal alien and all I got was this T-shirt.”

Barton, who is from California, told agents that he and the other two volunteers waived the man over to them, offered the immigrant food and water, and gave him the T-shirt and money before the Border Patrol arrived.

Barton also also provided deputies with the videotape that purportedly shows the incident. Capas said investigators were reviewing the tape. The volunteers were not arrested or ticketed, she said.

AZ Republic

Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano and AZ Republican Senators Kyl and McCain are all in agreement that both the immigration and the drain on the state’s coffers is a problem. Gov. Napolitano has gone so far as to repeatedly say and formally request that the federal government kick in much more money to payback the state’s financial outlay on the matter – immigration is a federal issue.

We haven’t heard too much from Mexicans – naturally, since what they are doing is already illegal. But we have heard from the Border Patrol and Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue.

They’re mildly upset. (I heard this elsewhere but this is the only free, non-subscribe link I could find)

Because of the expense involved, The Minuteman Project also wants to stop things like this from happening:

Border Patrol Rescues Three Illegal Aliens in Distress

The illegal aliens activated a rescue beacon on the Tohono O’odham Reservation
Tucson, AZ – Yesterday, Customs and Border Protection pilots and Border Patrol Search, Trama, and Rescue (BORSTAR) agents pulled three illegal aliens out of the desert that had activated a rescue beacon located northeast of Topawa, Arizona, on the Tohono O’odham reservation.

At approximately 6:00 p.m., the CBP pilots and BORSTAR crew responded to a beacon activation and encountered three individuals. The BORSTAR agent disembarked the helicopter in order to provide aid to the group. The three related that they had entered the United States illegally, and had been lost in the desert for three days without food. The group told the BORSTAR agent that they had decided to activate the beacon knowing that their situation was becoming desperate and in order to get help.

The Border Patrol has installed thirteen rescue beacons, four in the Naco Corridor, and nine in the West Desert corridor, between Tucson and Ajo, Arizona. The beacons are one measure taken by the Border Patrol in order to minimize fatalities associated with illegal immigration. The Rescue Beacon’s design allows for easy activation by aliens who find themselves in distress while traveling through isolated areas. The beacons have strobe lights atop their 30-foot towers and are visible for many miles. With a simple press of a button, the Beacon’s radio signals the nearest Border Patrol Station in order to dispatch agents to that location to provide assistance.

The Border Patrol is a division of the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, a new agency within the Department of Homeland Security, responsible for managing and securing our nation’s borders.

– from a Us Border Patrol and Immigration news release

There are rumblings of White Supremacist ties to the Minuteman group, prompting this new message on the front of the Minuteman Project Web site:

MMP is a citizens’ neighborhood watch along our border
The Minuteman Project has no affiliation with, nor will we accept any assistance by or interference from separatists, racists or supremacy groups or individuals, no matter what their race, color, or creed.

There is the not so small matter of enforcing laws on hiring illegal aliens (Link)

All of which are separate issues from both the problem of illegal immigration and whether groups like this should exist or need to exist.

Or whether there is a similar group on the Canadian border.

I say this not in jest. One of the main claims from Minutemen is that they fear the entrance of terrorists from a weak border. Surely though the northern border is a much less tense place – and a much more likely place for terrorists, who are not stupid.

In other news the Minutemen lost to the Crusaders last week 7-4 after a game-ending defensive double play.

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About temple

Always been a writer, always maintained an interest in politics, how people communicate and fantasy worlds within photography and books. Previously wrote for Blogcritics back in 2005 and interested in exploring the issues and topics I'm interested - the changing landscape of entertainment. all from the POV of a creator first, consumer, second.
  • Your example of vigelantism going to far is so far beyond laughable that my jaw just stands open in wonder that you could think that taking an illegals picture holding a T-Shirt is some sort of terrible vigelante justice.

    By all reliable accounts the Minuteman project is have a substantial effect, and border patrol members have made numerous supportive comments, particularly about the fact that the presense of the Minutemen has caused Washington to send them more agents to do their job more effectively.

    And BTW, the reason they know that it’s working is that we have accounts from within Mexico that coyotes working that part of the border have either moved or temporarily shut down operations. That’s meaningful.

    I do like your idea of similar patrols on the Canadian border, though. I bet people would be shocked to discover how many come in to America through that relatively unpatrolled and much longer border.


  • “There are already claims of the vigilante side of things going too far.”

    Maybe you should view the video of this incident before publishing this tripe.

    It showed no one being “physically restrained,” (the man was on the opposite side of a fence)_ but it did show soneone that appeared to be confused (no doubt attributable to some slimey coyote that lied to him) and offered food and water. He also willfully held up the t-shirt.

    Come back when you have something more factual to post.

  • RJ

    I’m not sure there should be any “rescue beacons” for illegals.

    It’s not that I want them to die in the desert. But by having such things, it only encourages more people to try to get into the US illegally from Mexico.

    I mean, if I was an illegal, I’d be thinking, “what’s the worst thing that can happen? I get lost, and I get some free food and water, and a free ride back down to Mexico, where I can wait a few days and try again.”

    Without such beacons, the risk to illegals would be increased, and therefore presumably fewer would attempt the crossing.

  • I didn’t say I was making the claim oh comprehension-deficient people. Why so defensive?

    Please tell me where I take a stand on this.


  • “I’m not sure there should be any “rescue beacons” for illegals.”

    I can only interpret this as a desire that illegally immigrating into the United States should be fatal in some cases. Pretty hard nosed eh? Pretty tough talk. (don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to nail this particular writer, I’m using this as an example of a common strain of argument on some issues.

    It recently occurred to me (and I will probably write something up about this later) that certain segments of the right wing just can’t get enough of this macho stuff. And it occurred to me that many people on the right wing are really soul mates of another demographic. Gangster Rappers (in general, not trying to claim an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre).

    Gangster Rappers ALSO love to talk tough, they like to talk about people being killed or how they deserve to die. Gangster Rappers love to talk trash about anyone who isn’t the same color as them. Gangster Rappers have no respect for women who talk up to them, just as right wingers can’t say enough bad things about that “Ho” Hillary for daring to have her own opinion on issues. Gangster Rappers are NOT fond of judges. Gangster Rappers believe it is more important to be tough than it is to solve a problem (just as Republicans would rather have a macho foreign policy instead of one that might reduce our risk of being attacked by terrorists).

    Gangster Rappers sometimes speak of their great desire for small entrepreneurs (drug dealers) to be able to operate their business without government over-regulations.

    There is a real sympatico between these groups. If Tom DeLay had a little more Bling Bling and 50 Cents could get the Russians to pay for his next $70,000 luxury vacation, we could hardly tell them apart.


    BTP, you often sabotage a fime premise by conflating 2 separate factors into one absurd melange that isn’t even worth arguing against. That said, your first paragraph is about right, IMO.

    RJ , I don’t think illegals take running the border as some yee-hah joyride.
    While I don’t agree with unfettered immigration, I can only imagine the situation would have to be pretty dire in their own lands to causes many of these people to risk their lives for a better life.

  • BTP apparently thinks that conservatives want to put mine fields on the border and then put food and guest worker cards in the middle of the mines to lure Mexicans to their death.

    From what I’ve seen most normal conservatives want to let illegals in under a guest worker program. Only a small number of Buchananesque quasi-socialist right-totalitarian types favor more radical solutions. As for the minutemen, they seem to just want the problem fixed one way or another.


  • Taken from this thread from Free Republic discussion of the MMP:

    “These numbers are the recorded apprehensions at the Naco Border Patrol Station. The actual number of true apprehensions could be more then these numbers, due to computer systems being down or time constraints on the Agents.


    March 1: 296 apprehensions
    March 2: 333 apprehensions
    March 3: 449 apprehensions
    March 4: 436 apprehensions
    March 5: 424 apprehensions
    March 6: 465 apprehensions
    March 7: 467 apprehensions
    March 8: 437 apprehensions
    March 9: 325 apprehensions
    March 10: 596 apprehensions
    March 11: 322 apprehensions
    March 12: 406 apprehensions
    March 13: 334 apprehensions
    March 14: 302 apprehensions
    March 15: 587 apprehensions
    March 16: 418 apprehensions
    March 17: 489 apprehensions
    March 18: 385 apprehensions
    March 19: 300 apprehensions
    March 20: 379 apprehensions
    March 21: 285 apprehensions
    March 22: 377 apprehensions
    March 23: 366 apprehensions
    March 24: 383 apprehensions
    March 25: 307 apprehensions
    March 26: 286 apprehensions
    March 27: 268 apprehensions
    March 28: 335 apprehensions
    March 29: 363 apprehensions
    March 30: 300 apprehensions
    March 31: 351 apprehensions

    In March, Naco averaged 380 apprehensions a day.

    April 1: 183 apprehensions
    April 2: 160 apprehensions
    April 3: 93 apprehensions
    April 4: 131 apprehensions
    April 5: 86 apprehensions
    April 6: 129 apprehensions
    April 7: 245 apprehensions
    April 8: 94 apprehensions
    April 9: 212 apprehensions

    Since the Minutemen showed up, Naco is averaging only 149 apprehensions each day.”

    No link to actual data. I’m sure it can be tracked down. But the drop in illegals is demonstrable. Read the whole post for anecdotal stories of what’s going on.

  • gonzo marx

    some good Stuff here, thanks folks

    it seems the Minutemen are doing exactly what they sai dthey woudl..behaving in the same manner as any neighborhood “Crimewatch”…to me, what they are attempting is even more important when you take in the National Security factor of uncontrolled border crossing..

    now if the Feds could get behind it, and add some teeth by cracking down on the employers that HIRE the illegals, perhaps that type of pincer could begin to stem the tide

    we can only hope that it continues to be effective (according to the figures cited), perhaps even expands…and remains safe for both the folks standing Watch over our border…and even for those seeking to break the Law…i don’t want them here..but i would rather not see them hurt

    but i’m a silly sort…i know



    No, Dave, BTP started off OK, then decided that Gangsta Rappers were similar enough to be thrown together in the same sentence. It’s outrageously absurd stuff like that that throws a smokescreen over any sensible argument he might make. I don’t want to singlre him out, thjough, there are more than a few commenters here that do more harm then good to their argunent by not knowing whe to stop typing.

  • Link to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: fabulous!

    And that’s all I have to say about that.

  • HW Saxton

    Not to be jumping onto the apparently
    popular opinion that B.T.P.’s analogy is
    friggin ridiculous (it is) but where in
    the name of Jehovah could you put these
    disparate as great give a funk groups of
    people into one paragraph and expect it
    to make any sense whatsoever BTP??? The.
    mind boggles.

    If nothing else comes from the MMP aside
    from a wake up call to the Fed.Govt that
    the US Border Patrol is undermanned,over
    worked,ineffectual & out gunned (in some
    cases literally)wouldn’t you think that
    they (MMP) have done their job. As for
    White Hate group extremists well FUCK
    them,but it’s inevitable that they are
    going to try to jump on any band wagon
    that’ll even vaguely suit their sorry
    assed agendas.

    And it seems the M.M.P has disavowed any
    form of support from those idiots at any
    and every turn.It could be Salvadorenos
    today and Saudis manana so it’s highly
    important that it’s addressed as swiftly
    as is humanly possible.But the real true
    criminals are the stateside enablers who
    this would not be possible without.Then
    there’s those uber PC Canucks but that’s
    another story eh?

    Why is it soooo hard for educated Euro’s
    to move here when we welcome uneducated,
    unskilled,poor as dirt laborers with our
    open arms and welfare coffers anyway?
    Again another story. But relevant to the
    above statements for sure.

  • Temple Shark “Please tell me where I take a stand on this.”

    You took ownership of the “he was physically restrained” lie when you choose to republish it without checking to see if it were true.

    I never claimed you “took a stand” you just published trash.

    Of course you could retract that part of the post.



    I heard in an interview with the spokesman for MMP that bryan Barton was PNG’d from the group after his ill thought out stunt. I think the MMP is right to be vocal about disavowing dumbasses and racists in an effect to keep their project as legal and unobjectionable as possible.

  • Keep waiting. The claim was there. That there was a claim is fact. It doesn’t matter if it was right or not to the point I made. I could update it but since I wrote it Apr. 7, that was the situation as of April 7, which I headed off the piece with because I know situations change.

    And there are comments to add information, not just cop an attitude.

    You could have chosen the former. So please, describe it for us. Describe how he gave them food afterward and took them to a shelter. Please.

    I don’t see you being quite such a stickler on those apprehension stats. Those apprehension stats seemed interesting until Mike added the phrase “No link to actual data” which made me wonder where the hell the numbers came from then?

    Here’s your cue. Add some information. This is how learning goes. Shoot.

  • “I could update it but since I wrote it Apr. 7”

    And what is the date on this post? 11 April, guess cut and paste “from home” bite you.

    “Describe how he gave them food afterward and took them to a shelter.”

    I described the video depicting the incident. The man was given water, a box of cereal, a $20 dollar bill, and the T-shirt.

    If you can find anywhere in my 2 previous comments the word “shelter” I’ll strip naked, and dance an Irish Jig on the roof of the Sears Tower, live on cable.

    “I don’t see you being quite such a stickler on those apprehension stats.”

    And why should I be? As you correctly point out that list of stats contained a disclaimer: “No link to actual data.”

    “Add some information. This is how learning goes.”

    I did, a description of the video, and learning also requires one not to be 48 hours behind the news cycle.

  • RJ

    “I can only interpret this as a desire that illegally immigrating into the United States should be fatal in some cases.”

    Ideally, the very fact that it COULD be fatal would dissuade them from even trying.

    And, if some did die, it would be their own fault, and no one else’s. They are, after all, breaking the law by sneaking in here illegally.

  • I taked to Andy Adame, with Tucson Sector Border Patrol Tuesday. He said they have de-emphasized and almost completely ended water stations as coyote smugglers are telling their “clients” that the Americans will take care of you and nothing bad can happen.

    They do still have the emergency beacons because death is best to be avoided (that humanitarian thing)

    He also said BP does not like the Minutemen because they are putting themselves and others in danger, “just make a poltical point.” I have a lot more, but I’m writing an article for the Casa Grande Dispatch, probably out Friday or Saturday. They get my work first.

  • RJ

    Look, if you are willing to do the crime, you should be willing to do the time.

    In the case of sneaking into the US via the Arizona-Mexico border, the “crime” is illegal immigration (a federal offense). The “time” is, most likely, not enforced. When it is enforced, it usually means getting a ride back to Mexico, so the criminal can try again in a few days.

    And, on rare occasions, the “time” means dying horribly in the desert, and letting vultures pick at your remains.

    To repeat: If you are unwilling to do the time, you shouldn’t commit the crime…

  • I work/worked with current and former Border Patrol and other federal agents, and the rank and file agents mostly approve of the minutemen. It is the polititians who manage these agencies that basically forbid the agents from commenting publically. The local law enforcement and border patrol have been begging for help along the border for years, but we don’t want to get Vicente Fox upset now do we.


    It’s sort of like an invited invasion, hell, there mind as well be a red carpet trail. I bet most of you are for giving Amnesty to these poor wretched illegals. What surprises me is all the lovey dovey strong hearted people, hey why not open your front door to these poor anguished people? An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure, Na wouldnt you all rather to sit back and watch america become a 3rd world police state?

  • *laughs*

    Ah, people. I have spent about 30 minutes reading all of the drivel, insight, thoughtfulness, vapid politics and really good points. I’ve laughed at the lefties, and jokes at the rights. I guess I can smear my own text-DNA on the face of this site now…

    Who wouldn’t want to be in the USA? Living is easy here. It really is. I mean we truly should be thankful we’re not a nation dying of AIDS. We really should be thankful our hearts are giving out over too much food rather than too little, and furthermore, we have the time to banter over frivilous opinions over that which is important to our Great Nation.

    Am I some huge patriotic nationalist? No. I’ll tell you who I am. I’m a hard-working laborer, artist, rock-n-roll aficianado, not leftist nor right (somewhere stratospherically speaking…) and to those politically ignorant, one would call me a healthy moderate. I work every day, I pay my bills, it sucks when I don’t have money, and it’s great when I do.

    This is what I see facing our nation currently. In contrast to our southern border weakness, our economy is really shaky right now. Parts of it are really good, such as a lowering unemployment, small business profit and capital, stock markets like the S&P and Dow are holding nicely. The other parts, such as housing prices, gasoline, and general cost of living imalance are a bit harsh on those not making enough money to live by their means. I’m certainly not talking about people squandering credit away to make sure their splurges at Ikea are taken care of until 2010.

    Enter our exploding Hispanic population now. Where I am now, Reno, Nevada, for example, has had a 15% increase in residents (it did not say what their legal status was) since 2000. It’s now a 40% Hispanic population here. I’m sure this area is at an extreme, however, this could be somewhere else, in future or current. There’s also another invasion. Californians. No offense to our western neighbor, but let’s face it. Our quality of life here in Nevada is great. And you’re spoiling it. You can sell your house in the Sacramento Valley for about $600,000, and blow $400,000 of it on home twice the size, half the taxes and still be right next door to Pilates class. The increase has taken 4% of our actual yearly growth, but since 90% of the 4% of the new Californians coming over, they’re making real estate agents salivate, investors drool… you get the idea. It makes people who DON’T want to be in California, be in California.

    Where is the problem from my angle? These two “invasions,” for lack of a better term, are doing something awful to Norther Nevada. We have spendy white folk not negotiating housing prices, buying, relocating businesses for the lack of State taxes, and causing a dramatic increase in both cost of living (since housing prices directly effect rent prices) and populous increase. On the other hand, our Hispanic folk coming in however they may, are taking advantage the 60% warehousing, restaraunt and hotel jobs for the area, much considered “low paying” jobs by most.

    It doesn’t take a market analyst to see there’s a problem. With a population explosion of lower-income families (of any race) and higher-income familes (of any race) of different growth rates in different economic areas, it is causing an important part of America to get classically watered down, and eventually, displaced. Middle-class America. The feel-good, work-hard, retire-quick section of the population. The kind our grandparents might like. Mortgages. Car loans. $10.00/hr-and-up paying jobs. Church. Book clubs. Bake sales.

    Hispanics have keen adaptations in something a lot of us take for granted family. ‘La familias estas mas importantes primero.’ Family is number one. Working in restaraunts, I was the only white boy working in the kitchen. Hispanics are good people. They work hard. They know the value of a dollar. They know that paying for housing with 10 family members at low wages can get a typical nuclear-style white family with three or four members working middle-wage jobs the same thing.

    Unfortunately, in Reno, since the houses are even more expensive, the more middle and lower-wage working people have to rent. And the rent is going up. Etc.

    And so on and so forth.

    Is Northern Nevada any different? I’m not sure. I don’t live anywhere else. I could live in a place where 60% of the job market isn’t in restaraunt/hotel industries, and make a more sophisticated living doing sales or administration. But I like it here. For now.

    Let’s get back to the border for a moment. No one has spoken actual numbers for the people that come across the borders illegally. No one knows. Or cares. Or wants to know. I’ve read estimates as high as 15 million illegal at any given time. Regardless of what the reason is, our fair country has the weakest check-system for making sure a person his here rightfully than any other in the world, at least for a first-world country. Most other countries have a “simple” system of verification from the start that establishes a person’s work history, personal history, background, criminal record, monetary funds, even qualifications for contributing to the society one is choosing to be a part of. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. Instead of a person living here, switching stolen Social Security numbers six times while they’re waiting for their alien status papers to confirm citizenship for six years, why not do this?

    Is this about racism? It’s possible. It’s definately about natural separatism. We like our own kind. It’s familiar. It’s safe (so we think…). Societally it’s unacceptable to force the issue, but it does happen naturally. As a species we’re very, very territorial. It needs not mentioning. What I know is, on one hand, I like green lawns, kept yards, painted houses and quaint gardens. It’s America’s way of saying, “We give a shit.” People not from here are not going to give us this exact replica of what we are used to. I hate to admit it, but for every hard-working Latino family, there’s a cramped apartment complex, or a busy household, that feels that the generalities of “yard care” are completely unimporrtant. Because where they are from, it isn’t important. Being fed is important, being alive and healthy is important.

    Yet I don’t like looking at dirt yards. I don’t care if it’s the white trash meth cooker in his mobile home or the illegal immigrant family in a two-story. The problem is comfort. Our green, clean, American comfort.

    This is all coming from a person who’s lived in his car. Been punk rock as fuck as a teenager, and has had wonderful Hispanic neighbors. I didn’t vote for our current president nor his competitor. I don’t like terrorists, and I don’t like war. I know what we need as a nation, and I know what we ought to do. Getting ANY good neighbors at all, no matter who they are, seems to be the key. No matter who I am, I want to be someone that one may disagree with, talk about, wonder if, yet rely on to be decent and not be of much more concern than that. That’s what being in America is about. Freedom is relaxation, if you ask me.

    People not willing to do things the right way, the neighborly way, the decent way, the honest way, in closing, should be filtered out. No matter what their heritage is. We need to have, be and reproduce good neighbors. Good co-workers. And maybe we’ll have a good community.

    What are the Minutemen doing down towards the southern border? The job our goverment has chosen not to. They might not be “protecting America,” they may say it’s for terrorism, but in either case, so long as they’re not killing or breaking the law themselves, they’re keeping honest people honest, which is a step in the direction ANY government could take.

    Kyle Weiss

  • Ana Romero

    I do not know when citizens against undocumented workers are going to understand some realities of U.S eonomic growth? Maybe they can pick up a book other than the funny papers read and learn. Yes, there are thousands of illegal immigrants crossing our orders. Many loosing their life’s in the attempt. One must first understand that U.S companies in Mexico, such as Shell oil, etc., have for centuries had a devesting influence on Mexico’s economy. They exploit Mexican workers just as they do here, and impose their prices to the Mexican Government and consumers using their usual economic third world country strategies, furthermore, one must understand that this countries economy depends on undocumented workers contributions to agriculture, construction and many other areas of our industry where U. S citizens are not willing to accept the physically demanding jobs and almost non-exist wages that undocumented workers are subject to. Why not send the minute men there, to U.S companies that hire undocumented workers? Please keep in mind that when U.S companies refuse to hire illegal immigrants you will see the domino effect of higher produce prices, higher housing costs, exorbitant hotel rates just to mention a few. Agriculture already has suffered the reduced rate of available labor and loss of crops, which is then passed on to the consumer at higher prices. Currently in Arizona. The lettuce is at $1.00 a head. Isn’t that a little ridiculous? But here you are,constantly attacking the very people who make your living style possible, at the cost of human lives, suffering and death.
    Several million dollars are poured in our social security system every year by these undocumented workers. Money they will not be able to recoup. Who do you think is going to benefit from that?
    The criminal aspect of illegal immigration is one not too many informed Americans are buying into anymore, we believe we need to look into our own U.S international policies
    and find answers there, not look at the results and penalize the very people who are the victims of our own making. You are wasting your time depending on the likes “Minute Men ” to make a difference. Let’s send them to the companies that hire undocumentend workers and then let me know what happens?

  • fresh jose

    fuck you minute fucks what you should do is give the money you are spendin on catching immigrants to the fuckin white trash

  • james

    Some of your responces have me laughing. I do not think any one of you have ever seen just how vast this region is. The border patrol needs help. It can be a very hostile desert. If you do not know what you are doing, with out help, If you survive crossing your lucky. I have to hand it to the Border patrol, the minute men and the border crossers for taking such a risk.