The white Pima County Sheriff car comes bouncing up the rocky dirt lane and stops next to the saguaro at our camp. The crew and I are out in front of our Casita, having recently returned from a short walk to greet the morning. It’s been raining for two days here on BLM land near Ajo in southern Arizona, and we want to take advantage of every break in the weather. I wonder why he’s come up here.
I give him my best smile and a good morning as he steps out of his vehicle.
“Good morning, ma’am.” I can see from his tan uniform that he’s a sheriff’s deputy. “We’re going around to all the people camping up here to let you know we spotted some illegals over by the mine.”
“Over that way?” I point to the north. “How many did you see?”
“Five or six. Keep aware of your surroundings and if you see anything, dial 911. Do you have a firearm?”
I hesitate. “Yes, I do.”
“Okay. Who’s up on the hill?”
“Oh, that’s Rick. He lives alone with his dog.”
He continues up the lane to Rick’s Scamp.
A few minutes later he drives down past our camp on his way out.
Later that afternoon, I ask Rick what he would do if some “illegals” showed up at his door.
“It’d depend on their demeanor,” he replies simply. Then he adds, I guess in consideration of my newbieness, “Don’t worry. The last thing they want is to draw attention to themselves. They aren’t going to bother you.”
I’m not going to let it go at that.
Rick’s been camping in this area for twelve of his twenty years of boondocking. “Have you ever encountered some illegal immigrants?”
“Oh, sure. Last year I was over on the other side of the road.” He points to the south. “They were over there.”
“What did you do?” I ask, knowing there must be more.
“I made them up a bunch of sandwiches.” He pauses. “It was Christmas Day.”