A Day in the Life of an Arizona Rancher: Border Fences, Illegal Aliens, and One Man’s Watchtower

By Janice Kephart and Bryan Griffith on March 7, 2011

Part I


Part II


The Center for Immigration Studies has produced its first web-based film that looks in depth at what it is like to live as an Arizona rancher among the isolation and dangers posed by illegal immigration. “A Day in the Life of an Arizona Rancher: Border Fences, Illegal Aliens, and One Man’s Watchtower,” released one year after the March 2010 tragic murder of rancher Robert Krentz, unravels the mindset of a rancher trying to balance the complexities of illegal immigration when dealing with protecting himself, his family and his property from unknown, constant and potentially dangerous trespassers who in Arizona are nearly always illegal aliens.

Richard Humphries, a lifelong Arizona resident and former narcotics cop living thirty miles north of the southeast Arizona border in Cochise County, became concerned enough with illegal activity on his land to build a watchtower to help himself and federal law enforcement track illegal aliens on his 75 acre ranch. This film relates Mr. Humphries’ humane approach to curbing illegal immigration in his own words, chronicling stories about a 150 mile car chase of an illegal alien load; a close call at his front gate; a thirsty and scared woman who had lost her coyote; and a rancher’s view of the Border Patrol tasked with interdicting illegal aliens across a still-porous border. The film’s introduction provides a reality check on the extent that border fencing does and does not exist from Douglas to Nogales, and a view of ‘Los Corrales’ from the U.S. side of the border, a holding refuge for the smuggled.

This is the fourth mini-documentary by Janice Kephart, the Center's National Security Policy Director. It is a two part film, running less than 20 minutes in total. In aggregate, Ms. Kephart’s films have nearly 700,000 views. Her prior three mini-documentaries are as follows:

Her first Arizona-based video, “Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border: Coyotes, Bears, and Trails,” (July 2009) focuses on the environmental impact of illegal immigration on federal lands.

Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border 2: Drugs, Guns and 850 Illegal Aliens,” (July 2010) features footage of gun and drug smuggling up to 80 miles inside the Arizona border, showing the reality of an insecure border.

"Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border 3: A Day in the Life of a Drug Smuggler," (September 2010) focuses on new drug cartel travel methods through footage obtained by Ms. Kephart in travels with her hidden camera guide into three drug running corridors.

Topics: Arizona