Violence sparked by the illegal immigrant crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border has spilled over into a sleepy little town unaccustomed to the devastating impact large influxes have on bigger cities near major crossings. A series of crimes committed by illegal aliens and human smugglers (coyotes) has left the usually tranquil Arizona town of Sonoita, population of about 800, in shock. Veteran ranchers and business owners in the area interviewed by Judicial Watch say that in the last few days there have been two home invasion robberies and two local stores were burglarized by a group of illegal immigrants who had just been released into their community by the U.S. Border Patrol in the predawn hours.
Additionally, armed illegal immigrants were stopped by authorities just south of Sonoita on private property, according to local sources. “Keep in mind that our area is rural, and the large majority of illegal immigrants are crossing in Nogales, Naco, and Douglas in Santa Cruz and Cochise County,” said one area rancher. Another said the sparsely populated region, located about two dozen miles from the Mexican border, is a large grazing area that is “not accustomed to this type of invasion of illegal activity.” The ranchers, all lifetime Sonoita-area residents, asked not to be identified because the situation is getting increasingly heated. Judicial Watch reached out to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff, which has jurisdiction in the area, for more detailed information about the crimes. However, the agency never responded. Local sources with firsthand knowledge of the recent crime spree say one of the homeowners recently robbed was beaten quite badly by the illegal alien perpetrators. The other was the family home of an area pastor’s son, the sources said.
Judicial Watch spoke to the owner of one of the Sonoita stores recently burglarized by illegal immigrants sometime before dawn. The business, Cowgirl Flare Boutique, sits at the intersection of Arizona State Route 82 and 83 in the middle of town. Next to it is a convenience store that also got burglarized by the same group. “The Border Patrol processed and released two men and a woman for human smuggling at around 4:30 a.m. and my store is very close to the Sonoita Border Patrol station,” said Stephanie Hubbell, who opened Cowgirl Flare Boutique nearly a decade ago. “They broke in and took all the money in the cash register and several pairs of men’s jeans and shirts.” The illegal immigrants also smoked crack cocaine in her store, Hubbell said, and used the pages of a book nook stationed outside her business to start a fire. Besides also burglarizing the convenience store next to her, Hubbell said the illegal immigrants stole all the cash donations in a shrine that the owner has in honor of her deceased mother.
The problem is only getting worse, locals say, because federal agents are overwhelmed with the onslaught of migrants and more are being released into communities near the border. A separate group of illegal immigrants processed and released by the Border Patrol was arrested within the last 24 hours, Hubbell said, for criminal behavior in Sonoita. “One was coming off meth and the other three guys were traffickers,” Hubbell said. Hours later, an illegal alien “coming off heroine” was taken into custody, she added. “This is the kind of illegal activity that this is bringing to our area,” the longtime resident and business owner declared. She and other town residents, who did not want their name used, say that during Donald Trump’s presidency there was less criminal activity by illegal immigrants than in the first few months of the Biden administration. “This town was so safe for the last four years,” Hubbell said. “Not now.”
In the last few weeks, several media outlets have reported that federal authorities are indeed releasing large groups of illegal immigrants in the U.S. after “processing” them, many without even being issued a court date. One national news syndicate obtained an internal government document that explains the move is “intended to mitigate operational challenges, including risks to national security, during significant surges of illegal migration.” A Texas congressman recently disclosed that federal officials have released around 2,000 illegal immigrants inside the U.S. without a notice to appear in court. The Democrat lawmaker, Henry Cuellar, calls it “unprecedented” in a news story and warns that the migrants have placed pressure on border towns. Cuellar represents the border city of Laredo in the U.S. House and has blasted the Biden administration for failing to properly handle the migrant crises. During a recent appearance on a cable news show, the congressman said the Biden administration must work with Mexico and Central America to make sure those countries are helping the U.S.