While Nevada rancher Clive Bundy celebrates the federal government’s exit from the land surrounding his home, not all ranchers around the country can share his enthusiasm.
Meet John Ladd, a rancher living in the border town of Bisbee, Ariz. Ladd and his family have been ranchers on his current Bisbee property since 1896. Like Bundy, Ladd has serious problems with the federal government. But unlike his Nevadan counterpart, Ladd has been dealing with federal agents trespassing on his property for decades. The problem is only getting worse, he says, and he’s had enough.
“I’m tired of putting up with the federal government and border patrol and anyone else who thinks they have the right to come on to my ranch and do whatever they want,” he said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Ladd grew up on his ranch, which is just a few miles north of the Arizona-Mexico border. Growing up, he recalls, the border was just an afterthought. He and friends would even routinely cross it for fun. But in 1980s, with the rise of the Border Patrol Agency, that all changed.
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“Border Patrol showed up in the late ‘80s, early 90s,” Ladd said. “The border wasn’t a big deal to me [before], but now it is. It dominates my livelihood and my life because I deal with it every day.”
In a video posted by the American Civil Liberties Union, Ladd tells of the chronic trespassing of border patrol agents on his land. They disregard his property boundaries, run over cattle, and even threaten to shoot his dogs if he doesn’t keep them at his house. Most recently, Border Patrol set up a camera that keeps a surveying eye out on his property.
“They monitor my movements every day,” he said. “I’m questioned daily about what I’m doing. They call me [saying,] ‘Are you down here? Are you doing this? What truck are you in?’ That’s none of your business. I’m working my ranch.”
Ladd says agents completely disregard – and even take down – gates and fences marking off his territory. To Ladd, the agencies actions show a complete disregard for principles the United States was founded on.
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“They have completely ignored what this country was based on, and that’s private property and human rights,” he says.
To see the rest of Ladd’s story, watch this video: