We will be discussing this story and all the day's news on our live BlazeCast with Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker (@bakerlink) beginning at 3pm ET:
Two Arizona ranchers want Congress to wake up to the dangers of the growing illegal immigration crisis along the southwest border, and they're inviting House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to take a tour along the porous border their ranches straddle with Mexico.
Ranchers Fred Davis and John Ladd have been outspoken in the past about the hardships their communities have endured with increased illegal immigration flow along the nation's roughly 2,000-mile southern border. They say lawmakers like Pelosi — who visited a detention facility in Brownsville, Texas, earlier this month to see the conditions of some of the thousands of children who have crossed — have no clue about how dangerous the situation has become.
"I want to invite Nancy Pelosi down," Ladd said in a video invitation, first obtained by TheBlaze. His ranch in Naco, Arizona, has been in his family since 1892. "She went to Texas to see the kids. So come here and see where the dope and bad guys are coming through the border."
The ranchers said they will pay for Pelosi's plane ticket and invite her to stay with their families on the ranch so they can give her a firsthand tour.
Arizona and Texas law enforcement officials have told TheBlaze that drug cartels use the human traffic to divert attention away from areas where they are trafficking contraband and narcotics. They have also complained that the Obama administration is hampering them from doing their jobs effectively.
Both Democrats and Republicans have described the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants — including more than 57,000 children — pouring across the U.S. border from Central America as a humanitarian crisis.
"They are missing the point, this is a national security crisis, not a humanitarian crisis," Davis told TheBlaze. "That's a crock. Anytime people hear anything about amnesty, they flood our country, but we're not enforcing the law — Border Patrol morale is low and there's no security, making it dangerous for everyone."
With the volume of illegal immigrants and illicit drugs coming over the border, Davis said, "Come see why your $2 million-per-mile fence is trash."
Ladd said the situation has made life for his family and that of his business extremely difficult. He believes more than 2 million people have crossed through his ranch in the last 24 years. He said he's witnessed 47 trucks crossing from Mexico through his property into the United States, but that only one has ever been confiscated by law enforcement: after it hit a ditch and broke down near an non-working border surveillance camera near his property.
Filmmaker Chris Burgard, left, and Arizona ranchers John Ladd, center, and Fred Davis invited House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to tour the southern border. (Image courtesy of Chris Burgard)
There was 1,700 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle when law enforcement arrived on his ranch, and the traffickers had already fled on foot back to Mexico, Davis said
Davis, whose ranch is 12 miles east of Tombstone, Arizona, said calling the situation a humanitarian crisis is disingenuous.
Chris Burgard, an award-winning filmmaker working with Davis and Ladd, is documenting the ongoing crisis along the border.
"I went back to the border because I've been pissed off about the lies being told to the American people," Burgard said. "At worse, the federal government is enabling the drug cartels, who many times use children to traffic drugs and other contraband into the United States. I'm a dad, I don't like seeing the kids being hurt and I don't like the American people being bamboozled."
The ranchers living with this growing crisis "would just like somebody from the opposition to come and see what it is really like for the families living along the border," Davis said.
"Pelosi doesn't have a clue," Davis said. "She's seen pictures of our fences and thinks that will keep them out. But if there is nobody there to watch the fence, the cartels still come through."
John Ladd said that when he complained to the government that the gateways failed to secure the border, officials put in a makeshift barbed wire fence. They built the fence without wire stretchers, leaving the strands of wire loose enough to be joined together in Ladd's hand. (Image courtesy of Chris Burgard)
He said that when drug traffickers are not using the 10-foot wide-open flood gates in the washes and flood plane areas, they use steel grinders to cut out square blocks through the 4 by 6-foot metal border fence that is only filled with concrete and has no rebar to enforce security.
"They cut it and drive through and no one is there to stop them," he said.
Ladd said when he complained to the government that the gateways failed to secure the border and that cattle from Mexico were crossing onto his land, officials put in a makeshift barbed wire fence. They built the fence without wire stretchers, leaving the four strands of wire loose enough to be joined together in Ladd's one hand.
"My 8-year-old grandson could have put up that fence," Davis said. "You can cut through it in less than 20 seconds with wire cutters."
Burgard summed the situation up with his own thoughts: "We've been doing this for over nine years. Anyone who tells you the southern border is secure is full of crap."
Follow Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) on Twitter