The border separating America from Mexico is an unforgiving desert wasteland. The miles of dirt and sand are speckled with hardy desert plants that provide little greenery and almost no shade. Survival is impossible without ample preparation. There is almost no water to be found; bring your own or die if you plan to make the trek across this harsh land. For outdoors enthusiasts and campers, this presents no challenge. It’s an adventure. For illegal immigrants, the challenges of the desert can costs their lives.

The border, although far from completely secure, is guarded enough that immigrants trying to sneak into the US are taking unusual routes into the country. Smugglers, or “mules,” lead people deep into the desert and often abandon them with no supplies once they near the border. Immigrants must then find food and water for themselves or perish.

Humane Borders, an Arizona charity, maintains 48 water supply station scattered along the border. “We know the water is used,” says Stephen Saltonstall, one of the groups many volunteers. Experts believe that there are over 25 different groups placing barrels of water in the desert in Arizona alone. The water is intended to help illegal immigrants facing exposure and dehydration.


In theory, it’s a compassionate gesture. They groups think of themselves as lifesavers and protectors of the vulnerable.

However this is simply not true. The water that Humane Borders imagines is being consumed by needy children and their mothers is far more likely to be helping drug dealers, pimps, and other criminals get into the country. Most ranchers refuse to allow the groups to maintain a water supply on their land. They recognize that the action encourages illegal immigration, which in turn directly threatens their livelihood.

“If you eliminated [the water stations,] you would probably cut what is coming across the border by almost 60 percent overnight,” says Tim Foley, head of an organization called Arizona Border Recon.

He’s almost certainly correct. The conditions of the desert are so tough, and most immigrants are so ill-prepared, that it’s likely many would choose to remain in their home countries rather than risk near certain death.


The country trembles on a precipice. If Hillary Clinton is elected, we will tumble down into a significantly less secure world. Clinton plans to expand Obama’s immigration policies. She’s committed to granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants currently living in the country. She supports deportation only for people convicted of a crime. She has not detailed any plans to make the border more secure.

Donald Trump represents stability. He’s taken a tough approach to immigration because he understands what the safety of America requires. He supports mass deportation. If someone wants to become an American, they’re welcome here, but they must come legally. He wants to build a 1,000 mile wall across the US-Mexico border.

An adult male walking steadily for 8 hours in the desert needs about 2 gallons of water to survive. Those gallons of water combined weigh over 16 pounds. Drug mules are often carrying 50-70 pounds of marijuana in addition to their own supplies. The logistics of water are critical to desert survival. It’s nearly impossible to carry enough water to survive a multiple day journey. Drug mules depend on the unwitting kindness of Americans to provide them with water and supplies. They absolutely could not manage otherwise.

Border control agents care about saving lives just as much as the groups placing water. They simply go about it in a much more effective way. Agents routinely search for people in need, providing them with water and food, even hospitalization if they require it. That is very different however from actively encouraging illegal immigration. Border control agents send people to their home country when they’re healthy enough to travel.

Border Control has their own version of water barrels. They place 30-foot-tall towers outfitted with blinking blue lights throughout the desert. The light can be seen for 10 miles in any direction. Anyone who reaches the tower can press a bright red button and agents will arrive with aid.


John Ladd owns a 16,000 acre ranch in Arizona, positioned directly along the border. 14 illegal immigrants have died on his ranch in the past 30 years. He’s had trouble with illegals tampering with the waterline to his cattle trough, losing 10,000 gallons a day. He says he used to provide food for people who made it across the border, but his kindness was quickly abused as word spread of his generosity. Ladd no longer supports desert water stations. He’s seen too many drug mules and traffickers trek across his land.

To elude government checkpoints, immigrants must often walk 30 miles or more through private ranch land. It’s a grueling journey. However the risks are well-known. Every illegal immigrant who perishes in the desert, or who must call for aid from border control, knew what they were getting into before the trip started.

Nobody wants people to die. Human beings have value, and don’t deserve to lose their lives over something so simple as lack of water. But the answer is not to make the journey easier, therefor encouraging more people to come. That’s an unhealthy solution for both America and the millions of people who want to live here. Security must come first. After all, that’s why so many people want to come here to begin with. Because they feel that they can live their lives happily and safely within US borders.

We need to secure our borders and focus on rebuilding America. We cannot allow the dilution of our values through misguided compassion. Everyone needs water to survive. But America does not need to be placing water stations in the desert.