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Illegal Immigration

Letter from Susan Hildebrand

Email received: 5/22/2010

Letter from Mrs. Susan Hildebrand, owner of the Shiner Ranch, to Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro, in response to his protest of the Arizona immigration law.

Dear Mayor Castro,

I am writing on behalf of my family and many other ranching families who live in South Texas.  I listened to your opinion about the actions of the Governor of Arizona, and I respectfully disagree.

We have had to deal with illegal immigrants crossing onto our land for many years, and before the drug cartels and terrorists entered the picture, it was always our policy to help these people by giving them something to eat and drink. It is something we wanted to do to help them, but now things have changed and we feel that our lives are in danger from the recklessness shown by those crossing the borders. In the past nine months, “coyotes” have driven through our fences SIX times while attempting to escape law enforcement.


Just this past week, they have crashed three stolen vehicles on the ranch and have abandoned the people who were being transported, including a 14 year old girl who was injured. (The driver had to be air lifted to San Antonio, at a cost to us tax payers.) The vehicle had been stolen from Travis county and it had to be towed. Another tax payer expense, to say nothing of what it has cost us to repair fences and pay for vet bills to pay for an injured horse. (See below.)

Last summer around eleven o’clock at night, another stolen vehicle broke through our fence and managed to drive through three other fences in an attempt to escape the Border Patrol. While our men were repairing the fence so that the livestock wouldn’t get out onto the highway, the Border Patrol, Sheriffs from two towns (Pearsall & Dilley), mounted law enforcement officers (with their tracking dogs) from the Dilley Prison, a helicopter, and a wrecker were here searching for the coyote and his passengers. During the hunt, one of the prison dogs was bitten by a rattler and she died later that night, despite medical treatment. One of our working ranch horses was so frightened that he ran into a tree and cracked his skull. Meanwhile, most of the bad guys managed to elude capture. When the coyote was finally apprehended, he was found to have around $39,000 in his pockets…all taken from the people he had abandoned.

It is easy to live in a city away from the problems we are experiencing here near the border, but we would welcome you and your family to join us and see what is happening firsthand. It would be an eye-opener and it might change your mind when you criticize what the people of Arizona are doing in trying to protect their citizens.

Racial profiling has nothing to do with following the laws that are supposed to be in effect concerning illegal immigration. Personally, whenever I write a check, go for a doctor’s appointment, or break a traffic law, I am always asked for my identification. I believe it’s the same for you, too.

The Border Patrol is so understaffed, and even if they do apprehend someone they have no power to hold them at gun point. Their lives are put in danger every day while our government officials sit back and offer only criticism of the job they are trying to do.

This land where we live has been in my husband’s family since 1881, and never before have we had any fear about leaving our doors unlocked, walking down a sendero, or driving through a pasture. Now we’ve had to instruct our men not to confront any strangers they come upon because we are unarmed, and they may not be. My husband and I want to leave a legacy of love for this part of God’s country to our children and grandchildren, not one of fear. Please reconsider your stance about enforcing stricter immigration laws, and stand behind the brave men and women who protect our families, as well as your own.

I appreciate the chance to give you some idea of what we are dealing with, and it is my prayer that you will support defending our borders before it is too late.

Thank you.


Susan Hildebrand