Open letter to Sen. Susan Collins

By Paula G. Sutton | Feb 14, 2019

Jan. 14, 2019

Dear Sen. Collins,

I am writing to you as the Knox County Committeewoman for the Maine GOP and a former Maine State Representative (2017-2018); I proudly served the communities of Warren, Hope, Union and Appleton- House District 95.

In the early 1990s my late father retired and my parents moved from Maine back to Texas. My dad grew up in Laredo, a border town on the Rio Grande River and spoke Spanish fluently. He loved everything about Texas: the land, the weather, the terrain, and especially the people. Texans, all of them, the Mexican Americans and the ranch owners were his friends.

They bought a large cattle ranch approximately 20 miles from the Mexican border and set up shop. I visited the ranch several times and can personally tell you about all the problems they had with illegal immigrants, drug activity, and struggling border patrol. By law they had to fence the entire property and post signs in English and Spanish saying private property/keep out. Frustrated by Maine’s overregulation and unfriendly business environment, all they wanted was to retire, be left alone and raise some cattle.

It did not happen. They were forced out of their first ranch by illegal immigrants crossing the border at all times of the day and night. They were afraid for their lives. They moved and bought a different ranch; they gave up on cattle and tried exotic wild game further north of the border, but things were no different there.

When I visited it was unsafe for me to ride the trails due to people lurking on the property. Illegal aliens would routinely cut the expensive game fence leaving valuable animals with an easy way to escape. The caravans of immigrants openly flaunted their freedom with campfires and barbecues where they feasted on dad’s slaughtered animals. They left behind piles of trash, dirty diapers, Mexican lottery tickets and evidence of illicit drug use.

One day while visiting, my parents were off location and I was alone. Walking to the barn to check on some newly born game birds I came upon a group of five young men rummaging around behind the building. From their body language and facial expressions I was fearful of being raped. The large caliber firearm strapped to my waist, in plain sight, is likely the only reason I was not. I was terrified on my parents own ranch.

Border patrol was a joke; they were underfunded and did not care. My dad would call and they would send an air conditioned van to take people back across the border only to know they would return again in a few days. Talk in the local coffee shop and feed store in town was not hopeful that the situation would improve and they were right.

It got so dangerous and frustrating my dad engaged an organization called Ranch Rescue to come and help defend his property. Sadly, he was sued by the dreaded Southern Poverty Law Center because they represented an illegal that lied and accused my father of terrorizing him when in fact it was my parents, frustrated and law abiding citizens that were the victims. All this from a man who was in this country illegally, who was on my father’s ranch with clearly posted land in English and Spanish. The man won the lawsuit saying my father made him afraid. A man who was caught trespassing in the middle of the night on terrain covered with coyotes, rattlesnakes, scorpions and cactus said he was more afraid of my father and won. Private property rights should mean something. Public safety should be a priority for taxpaying Americans.

Build the wall.

Thank you.

Warm regards,

Paula G. Sutton


Post Script

Feb. 11, 2019

Reade Brower’s overture requesting my letter for publication alongside his column came as a surprise.

When Mr. Brower reached out, as the first contact from this publication, I saw it as a welcome measure of civility despite some reserve as to potential motivations.

My commitment to share my family’s experiences on the open southern border was simple — I love my country, and I believe law abiding Americans need and deserve secure borders. What happened to my family should never have occurred and hopefully will not happen to anyone else.

Illegally crossing our border is against the law.

This country was founded on the Rule of Law. Laws should apply equally to each individual and not play favorites. There is a process by which we change laws.

My story is true.

My retired parents, now deceased, were the real victims. When security guards from Ranch Rescue reached out to help them, they were at their wits’ end and fearful for their lives. What would you do if your properly posted and fenced property were repeatedly invaded and your animals were slaughtered and eaten? They needed help.

Allegations were made by people who were caught unlawfully gaining entry into our country and were represented by lawyers with an agenda. A lawsuit based upon lies and distortion resulted in the criminals winning a settlement. My parents’ American Dream was stolen from them. I pray this never happens to you.

We should be talking about securing our borders, protecting our citizens, stopping human trafficking, and preventing drugs and violent gangs from infiltrating our nation.

The Knox County Republicans as well as most Americans promote these ideals.

The media must be responsible and use headlines that accurately portray facts instead of ignoring them and displaying obvious bias.

I support President Trump’s immigration compromise, which involves humanitarian assistance; ports of entry drug detection technology; additional law enforcement agents; new immigration judge teams; a physical barrier in high priority locations; and an extension of temporary protected status (TPS). Source:

Supporting legal immigration makes one a law abiding citizen, not a racist.



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