Border Patrol Check Points Simply By-Passed by Illegal Aliens on Foot

The immigration bust of five shuttle companies on charges of transporting illegal immigrants led the feds to an interesting concession... border crossers simply by-passed checkpoints on foot.

That certainly caught the attention of people in Tubac. Some of them have been saying the I-19 checkpoint near them has NOT stopped illegal immigrants it's just pushed desperate and dangerous people into their backyards.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) busted five van companies on charges of knowingly moving thousands of illegal immigrants. The fastest route would have taken them through the Border Patrol checkpoint near Tubac.

Border Patrol agents certainly do find and arrest plenty of smugglers and undocumented immigrants at a place like this but look at it from a smugglers perspective. If you try to make it through a checkpoint, you are up against agents and dogs and all sorts of technology but if you're willing to walk you've got thousands of acres of open land right nearby.

Investigators say smugglers often did just that. Getting off the road often means going through Tubac. To residents it's old news that checkpoints can divert people, and trouble towards their businesses and homes.

Tubac Resident James Culver says, "The Border Patrol's been stopping them for five or ten years. They've been doing this for 400 years---bad odds." To Culver the crossers are mostly a nuisance because they leave trash behind but others in the area see them as a serious threat.

Border Patrol agent Omar Candelaria knows people bypass the checkpoints but says they still help. "By us having an established presence in that location we're gonna push that traffic out of there and the quality of life will improve for the residents. Craig Smith says, "But as we were saying, they contend it pushes it into their laps not away from it." Omar Candelaria/U.S. Border Patrol: Again, the Border patrol has the assets we can deploy around to address those circumvention routes."

But Tubac resident Gary Brasher says if that's the's a failure. "I think any time that law enforcement purposely puts civilians who are not trained in direct contact with a criminal element as part of their strategy I think it's highly inappropriate."

Border Patrol says it puts in sensors so it knows when people are by-passing checkpoints.

Gary Brasher is a realtor who keeps in close touch with how people are using their land. He knows of ranchers in more remote areas who allowed Border Patrol to install sensors on their land but knows of no one who has them near Tubac.

- video encodings still in process -

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