Historic Border Patrol Badge Artifact

East Arizona Part 15

The term Naco is from the Opata language and means prickly pear fruit. The local Indians are of two groups: The Opata and the Pima. The Catholic missionaries detailed the local demographics in the text Orinoco Ilustrado by a Father Johann Nentvig in which reported the comments of Father Gumilla. In that work Gumilla describes the Opata: Their nature is based upon four traits, each more despicable than the one that follows — Ignorance, Ingratitude, Inconstancy, and Laziness.

The locals can be forgiven because they were / are the prey of the Apaches just to the north. Considering their history as being one of merely sheep to the slaughter would not be too unkind. Today, some psychologist on a million dollar government research grant might instead call them passive aggressive.


The front of the USBP Station at Naco is about the size of a Wendy’s or Arby’s restaurant.


As with Boeing’s contract for the Secure Border Initiative, cameras are alive and looking east and west. That we have no one to catch the smugglers and no place to put them if we did, seems not the point of SBI.

As we approach the border at Naco we are warned that the citizens of Mexico do not enjoy any Second Amendment Rights and that guns are illegal in Mexico.

Since the border area just to the south of us is being patrolled by the Mexican Army in real live fully armed tanks and the drug cartels are fighting pitched gun battles everywhere from Juarez to Nogales and even to distant Tijuana where the border touches the Pacific Ocean, any firearm you could possibly fit inside your vehicle would be far too small to offer you any effective defense.


A Potemkin Border exists at Naco. To each side of the less than inspiring port of entry the border is reinforced with steel plate. This reinforcement only extends about half a mile east and west of the port of entry.


The federal authorities in Washington seem to operate on the logic that people can be trapped on an escalator by turning it off. Walking a few feet to either side of the steel reinforcement would be cheating!

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