WASHINGTON, D.C. – It was a big day for a Cochise County rancher who got to sit in front of Congress and voice his frustration over the lack of protection he has been dealing with daily living next to Mexico.
Bill McDonald says, “I had high hopes for, I don't know when that's going to happen, actually get a bill through that does more good than harm.”
McDonald says he hopes Congress learns from his story about what it is truly like living next door to Mexico. He says, “I respectfully request the federal government do its job now. Secure the border, protect our citizens from foreigners who enter and mean to do us harm.”
McDonald was taken out of his element of the open desert and put in front of a panel of Washington lawmakers.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) said, “If you could please just enlighten us what's working and what's not working.”
McDonald answered, “The communication down there is just really, really tough, sometimes you wonder how they get anything done.”
While additional U.S. National Guard troops are welcomed on the border, McDonald says the effort has to be bigger. “More air support, light helicopters, even C-130's, horse patrol units are very effective out there, we don't have nearly enough of that.”
When the hearing was over members of Congress seemed quite impressed with what McDonald had to say and thanked him for laying it all out on the table.
Connie Mack (R-Florida) says, “The Congress needs to hear more and more of it and I thought you laid it out in a way that an expert sitting in an office here in Washington could never do.”
According to Giffords’ staff she will continue meeting with local ranchers and Border Patrol. She says she already has conference calls with them every week and hopes to make sure their voices are heard in our nation's capitol.