I was not surprised when Sen. John McCain was criticized by media sources and activists for his remarks that undocumented immigrants are to blame for some of the fires which have erupted along the U.S.-Mexico border.
I was, however, surprised by the harshness of the criticism—especially since there has long been evidence that his statement is, sadly, true.
With yet more evidence—pretty damning evidence—we bring to you this week's cover story.
As I write this (before the issue hits the streets, obviously), I am curious to see what kind of response "Arizona Burning!" will get. However, here are some easy predictions: Those on the far right will point to this story as evidence that we need more walls, more security, more crackdowns—with a few of those voices featuring sickening racist overtones. Those on the far left will criticize us for publishing such a story, and will claim yet again that the border problems on which we've frequently reported aren't as bad as we're making them out to be.
Most of the people in between will probably be stunned at the evidence Leo W. Banks has uncovered.
One thing that I am pretty sure will NOT come of this piece: Legitimate, sensible immigration and drug-law reform. After all, if this country's elected officials had the courage to develop an immigration system that lets people who want to make better lives for themselves come here legally, undocumented immigrants wouldn't be making the dangerous trek across the Sonoran Desert—and starting signal fires as a last-gasp effort (which is what apparently led to the Murphy Complex Fire) to avoid joining the horrifyingly long list of migrants who died making that trek. If we jettisoned our archaic, worthless War on Drugs in favor of more sensible drug laws, we'd put the cartels causing so many problems along the border out of business.
Maybe I am wrong. I hope I am wrong—but experience tells me I'm not.