While the Biden administration touts a drop in migrant encounters on the southern border, a fourth-generation New Mexico rancher is second-guessing the choice to make her home on the plot her family established over a hundred years ago.
“We picked the wrong place to raise a family,” said Amanda Adame, whose ranch is eight miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. “Living out here, you go armed everywhere you walk [and] you make sure that your kids don’t walk off and go play where you can’t see them. You never know what’s going to happen.”
The Biden administration has touted a sharp drop in migrant encounters since the end of Title 42 on May 11, but there were still more than 200,000 encounters in May. Despite the overall drop, criminals have still made their way into the U.S., surpassing previous records with 125 Border Patrol arrests of people on the FBI’s terror watchlist as of May 31, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
“It’s just a safety issue, mainly, that’s out here,” Adame said. “We don’t have big groups of people coming across. We get the cartel.”
The criminals “are taking advantage of the system that’s in play right now, and they are running with it,” Adame said.
Adame and her husband have still helped migrants on occasion despite their safety concerns. But the mother of two said her kids’ safety has to come first, as she can’t be sure who they will encounter and what they might be carrying. On one occasion, while home alone with her 8-month-old baby in 2013, the New Mexico rancher described seeing a group of migrants carrying rifles on their backs.
“I shouldn’t be scared for my life out here,” she said. “I shouldn’t have to be worried about what my kids do outside.”
The fourth-generation rancher said ports of entry like El Paso, Texas, get migrants flooding in from South America looking for better lives, but her ranch is different.
“The guys who are coming through my area are the ones that have already been a criminal, and they’re the ones that don’t want to get caught,” she said. “They’re the ones that are hauling the drugs.”
From October 2022 to May 2023, over 19,000 pounds of fentanyl has been seized along the southern border — a 169% increase since this time last year, according to CBP. The number has already exceeded the 14,401 pounds in fentanyl seized during the entirety of FY 2022.
“They’re trying to make their money,” Adame said. “We’re trying to just live our life, and we don’t want any part of it.”
These migrants are “the ones that can go to Phoenix, and they can go to El Paso or Denver… and disappear,” Adame said. “Then you have crimes that you don’t know who committed them, and I think a lot of them are from that.”
In March, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 220 illegal immigrants in a nine-day operation with criminal convictions that included rape and murder. Those arrested included a 64-year-old Mexican national convicted last year of sexual abuse of a victim under 13.
Adame told Fox News she fears calling Border Patrol when she encounters migrants over the cartels’ retaliation.
“When I call the Border Patrol, will they know since they now know where I live?” Adame said. “My ranch is a population of four. My nearest neighbor is six miles away.”
“The only thing I should be scared about are spiders and snakes” in the desert, she said. “I shouldn’t feel this way.”
To hear more about life on the southern border at Adame’s ranch, click here.
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