I was forwarded an email today, and I can't honestly figure out the source since it is one of those that has been forwarded a zillion times, but at some point it passed through the Arizona 2010 Project. It consisted mainly of pictures of desert areas along major immigration routes that had been trashed by illegal immigrants. This picture is pretty typical.
Certainly an ugly site, particularly for someone who lives and works in the outdoors as I do.
Here is a quote, I think from the original email but it may have been from one of the forwarders (emphasis added):
This layup is on an 'illegal super - highway' from Mexico to the USA (Tucson) used by human smugglers.
This layup area is located in a wash area approximately .5 of a mile long just south of Tucson.
We estimate there are over 3000 discarded back packs in this layup area. Countless water containers, food wrappers, clothing, and soiled baby diapers. And as you can see in this picture, fresh footprints leading right into it. We weren't too far behind them.
As I kept walking down the wash, I was sure it was going to end just ahead, but I kept walking and walking, and around every corner was more and more trash!
And of course the trail leading out of the layup area heading NORTH to Tucson, then on to your town tomorrow.
They've already come through here. Is this America the Beautiful? Or another landfill?
The trash left behind by the illegals is another of the Environmental Disasters to hit the USA. Had this been done in one of our great Northwest Forests or Seashore National Parks areas there would be an uprising of the American people........but this is remote Arizona-Mexican border.
Well, it so happens my life is spent cleaning up public parks. My company's mission is to privately operate public parks. A lot of that job is picking up and hauling away the trash. And I can tell you something with absolute certainty: This is exactly what a highly trafficked area in our great Northwest Forests or Seashore National Parks would look like if someone wasn't there to pick up. Here is one example from a northwest forest, in Oregon:
We run busy campgrounds and day use areas all over the country, and you would not believe the trash on the ground on a Monday morning. And this is after the place was cleaned on Sunday morning and with trash cans available every 10 feet to throw things away correctly. I have seen a few areas in the National Forest that were busy ad hoc camping areas -- meaning they had no facilities, no staff, and no trash cans -- and they were absolutely trashed by good old red-blooded American citizens. Parts looked no different than this picture. Most of these areas have since been closed, because of this ecological damage.
In fact, in my presentation I make to public agencies about our services, I say that we are actually in the environmental preservation business. By attracting recreators to defined areas of the wilderness where we have staff to clean up after the visitors and limit their impact on nature, we are helping to preserve the other 99% of the land.
So, yes this is ugly, but it frustrates me that this is used to play into the Joe Arpaio type stereotypes of Mexicans
All these people that come over, they could come with disease. There's no control, no health checks or anything. They check fruits and vegetables, how come they don't check people? No one talks about that! They're all dirty. I sent out 200 inmates into the desert, they picked up 18 tons of garbage that they bring in"”the baby diapers and all that. Where's everybody who wants to preserve the desert?"
To my mind, this is an argument against Mexican immigration in the same way that violence against women is used as an argument against legalizing prostitution. Prostitutes suffer abuse in large part because their profession is illegal which limits their access to the legal system when victimized, not because violence is inherent to their profession. Trash in a wash in the desert is a result of the illegality of immigration that forces people into stream beds rather than city check points when they enter the country.
Postscript #1: Please, if you are a good, clean, thoughtful user of public parks, do not write me thinking I have dissed you. I have not. Most of our visitors are great and thoughtful, and we really appreciate that. But it takes only a few to make an unbelievable mess.
Postscript #2: I am willing to believe that poorly educated immigrants have fewer litter taboos than we have been acculturated with. But I have seen enough to say that no ethnic group out there should be too smug. For God sakes, there had to be a large effort near the top of Mt. Everest to clean up a huge dump that had accumulated of oxygen bottles and other trash near the summit. Here are pictures of what rich Americans and Europeans do on Mt Everest when they are hiking and there is no trash can nearby: