By Kris Gutiérrez
Published March 03, 2011
In Texas, nearly 8,200 farms and ranches back up to the Mexican border.
The men and women who live and work on those properties say they’re under attack from the same drug cartels blamed for thousands of murders in Mexico.
Texas farmers and ranchers produce more cotton and more cattle than any other state, so Staples is concerned this war could eventually impact our food supply, and calls it a threat to our national security.
“Farmers and ranchers are being run off their own property by armed terrorists showing up and telling them they have to leave their land,” Staples said.
To raise awareness, Commissioner Staples launched the website ProtectYourTexasBorder.com. It’s a place where frustrated and scared farmers can share their stories.
One Texas farmer, who asked not to be identified, said it’s common for him to see undocumented immigrants walking through his property.
“I see something, I just drive away,” he said. “It is a problem, I’ve learned to live with it and pretty much, I’ve become numb to it.”
Another farmer, Joe Aguilar, said enough is enough. After walking up on armed gunmen sneaking undocumented immigrants into the United States through his land, Aguilar decided to sell his farm.“It’s really sad to say, you either have to beat ‘em or join ‘em and I decided not to do either,” Aguilar said.
Aguilar’s family farmed 6,000 acres of land along the Texas-Mexico border for nearly 100 years.
“Our farmers and ranchers can’t afford their own security detail,” Staples said. “We’re going to become more dependent on food from foreign sources.