As the next battle over immigration reform winds closer over the dog days of summer, I was reminded this weekend of one of the key arguments I hear from reform supporters. It revolves around the idea that those who want the borders secured first are somehow using that as nothing but a tool to stop “progress” on reform efforts. This was typified a few months back with MSNBC’s Alex Wagner and her jaw dropping promo on the subject for her new show. Allahpundit skewered the video royally as soon as it came out, but it deserves a second look today.

Bigger, meaner, scarier fences. People suggesting electrified moats to prevent “them” from coming in. By the language that they use to talk about “those people” who want to be here. You know what? Those people who want to be here are us. That’s what this country is made of.

I’m not sure where Ms. Wagner lives, or which part of “us” she’s referring to, but before she gets too caught up on welcoming all of the new, eager citizens into the country without scrutiny she might want to stop by the actual border and talk to the residents there. Or, failing that, she might want to take a look at this report from US News which interviews a variety of people dealing with the hazards of living along the Southern border. It talks about some of the locals who have been forced to take matters into their own hands in an attempt to keep their families safe.

Just before sundown, a group of men cloaked in camouflage from the Texas Border Volunteers halts their all terrain vehicle, along a winding sandy road. As they make their way around the heavy brush, they circle around a pile of women’s undergarments, which lay at the foot of a tree. In sections of land near the U.S.-Mexico border, this is known as a “rape tree.” And for the residents of Brooks County, Texas, rape trees are popping up at an alarming frequency.

“I’ve had three rape cases in the last month,” says Benny Martinez, the chief deputy at the Brooks County Sheriff’s Department. “These guys are animals. There is an intimidation factor there. If they don’t give into the brush guide, [the women] get beat up.”

The group who found the “rape tree” are part of the Texas Border Volunteers, a troop of a few dozen private citizens who spend their own time – six or seven hours at a clip – weaving through the low-hanging honey mesquite trees and heavy Texas brush looking to stop immigrants from crossing into this land – and their country – illegally.

Some of these same reform proponents will be quick to claim that the real villains here are the “coyotes” engaged in human smuggling, not their transport charges. But to them, I would note that the violence and mayhem are hardly restricted to the illegal immigrants.

Vickers’ wife, Linda, never leaves the house without her cell phone, a gun and her four guard dogs.

Ranchers in the area say immigrants used to pass through without much of a trace.

“It used to be mostly Mexican peasants coming to look for work,” Vickers says. “Maybe a couple times a week, they’d show up at my front door, ring the doorbell and ask if I had any work for them. If I didn’t, I’d send them across the road or point them in the direction of work. They were very respectful. We’d give them water, we’d give them food.”

Now, all along Route 281, bended fences, abandoned clothing and empty Gatorade bottles lay scattered on the road, evidence of groups passing through.

For some the high price is too much to pay to stay on the ranches. Elizabeth Burns, who owns a 38,000-acre ranch, moved off the land and into McAllen, Texas because the influx was growing too burdensome.

The story goes on, with tales of ranchers finding swollen, bloated bodies in the grass on their lands. Violence and damage to property are happening daily, with more and more residents simply giving up and moving away because it’s just not safe to stay there.

But you know that “bigger, meaner fence” must be the problem. Right?