They wore huge slippers with carpet soles.
This is a standard item for immigrants crossing the US border illegally Arizona – Rough wrap-around sole, carpeted sole that won’t leave marks in the desert.
We see them everywhere – discarded along with camouflaged jackets and trousers, dressed to blend in with the landscape and provide covertness for border patrol.
Seeing a dumped “cammo” is another iconic piece of evidence of escape.
It doesn’t work every time.
We were on the Twilight Patrol with a sheriff’s deputy in Cochise County, on the Mexico-Arizona border. It’s the night shift at the border, lingering on Hwy 92 – until the handbrake turn signaled a sighting.
Roadside cameras captured movement on a stretch of highway that was well used as a pick-up point. Those who cross the border illegally are directed here by the cartels they pay tolls.
These criminal gangs recruit drivers, usually teenagers, in the United States through social media. They charge a fee, usually $2,000 per person, to pick up the migrants and take them north.
Our deputy searched him into the bushes by the side of the road, under the gutters and in the weeds, until his flashlight illuminated three people, a man and two women in camouflage and carpeted shoes, quiet. Hiding quietly in the dark bushes.
Crisis level of illegal exports
They were a sad sight – tired, frustrated and eagerly clutching water provided by border officers who led them to the back of their pickup truck.
The smuggling infrastructure that facilitates human trafficking across the Mexican border is also being used to transport drugs — a crisis in numbers.
In particular, illicit exports to the United States are exacerbating crisis levels of fentanyl drug use.
No wonder border security, as a midterm election issue, is a top priority for many in Arizona.
“We’ve spent a lot of time responding to border challenges,” said Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels.
“They’re running past people’s property at 100 mph every day in this county, breaking in, chasing cars.”
“Arizona leads the nation in 2021 with over 5 million pills seized in southern Arizona.
“Our problem is that our president, our leadership in Congress, has to change the message — it has to get out of politics, it has to act.
“We can’t get our president or congressional leaders to admit there’s a problem here.
“It’s frustrating to me that the federal government says we have no problem. It’s a huge challenge and it’s insulting.”
Border security is an election priority in Arizona.
It’s at the heart of debates alongside the economy, abortion and crime – important topics, but for many these are subheadings midterm.
In this voting process, the power of the vote itself is an issue that runs through the entire campaign.
Democrats’ warning from below the president is that democracy is threatened by electoral denial embedded in the electoral process.
Read more: Anger, betrayal and fear as America prepares for midterm elections
The Republican Party, which is fielding more than 300 candidates for various positions of power, sees the 2020 election as Donald Trump.
The most prominent of these is Cary Lake, who is running for the governorship of Arizona.
There is no doubt that she has star quality.
A Trump loyalist is a brilliant former TV anchor who slid through the campaign on the “Ask Me Anything” circuit.
Not that anyone asked about election fraud.
There’s a reason for that — no one in court in Cary, a Trump loyalist, doubted it.
We attended her event at the fire station in Peoria, Arizona, huddled with TV crews from Japan and France to witness the growing phenomenon in American politics.
The election-denying poster girl has been touted as Trump’s potential running mate if he runs for president in 2024.
I spoke with several listeners who politely said that the “media” was to blame for the electoral fraud that cost Trump the presidency.
In an awkward but somehow friendly interaction, Ms Lake encouraged the crowd to turn their chairs and wave to the “fake news” filmed at the back of the room.
For them, optimism about election denialism must be both routine and casual in a Republican party that feels Donald Trump’s gravitational pull.
Doubts about the integrity of the electoral process have long since evolved from a fringe concept to a mainstream and widely held belief — not to mention the lack of evidence that electoral fraud is of any significance.
If Ms. Lake becomes Arizona’s governor, and polls show she has a good chance, it’s her job to prove the state’s numbers in the 2024 presidential election.
Here’s a Trump loyalist who claims he’s been robbed in 2020; she won’t fully support the integrity of the midterm elections she’s in.
I asked her, “Is the only election you’ll support the one you won?”
Her response: “I will absolutely accept a fair, honest and transparent election result.”
This is a straightforward answer that few people disagree with. It also opens the door to denying the integrity of the electoral process.
Who would be surprised if this didn’t happen?
This is Arizona, with challenges, audits and lawsuits going nowhere after the 2020 election.
It was the pantomime protests that saw the state dubbed “Ground Zero” for rejecting the election — which may have just kicked off.