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By Chris Burgard

July 31, 2008

When I set out to make my documentary, BORDER, it was my intention to cast a spotlight on our border crisis, to bring to the attention of the American people the incredible level of danger that exists along our 2000 mile border with Mexico. I was able to expose a number of situations that have outraged people all across the country: the rape trees where drug cartel “coyotes” hung their trophies; the border ranchers who found bodies on their property, along with tons of trash and vandalism; the immigrants themselves forced into horrifying acts to survive in the border deserts; the border patrol and sheriff units who find themselves outgunned and outmanned by increasingly dangerous drug cartel narco-terrorists and politicians who are hand-cuffed by bureaucratic lethargy and corruption. However, the deeper I delved into the fates of both the legal border resident and the illegal alien, the more I realized that the American people need solutions. After a while, our citizens become anesthetized to the violence and the extreme deprivations, just as they have become anesthetized to the casualties of war.

Given the opportunity to support ideas that can work, our citizens will make the calls, send the emails, open their checkbooks and pressure for the kind of change that can turn our border from a cesspool of murder, kidnapping, rape and torture to a region where laws prevail. I find it simply mind-boggling that this story is not all over the news every day. It should be a top issue in our country and, unfortunately, it’s been swept under the carpet too many times.

In an election year where our presidential candidates have been loath to offer detailed solutions for our border crisis and the levels of illegal immigrations that exist, I came up with what I call the S.T.O.P. plan. It’s a four point border fix plan that I believe can stop 90% of the border crisis in 90 days. I have already received the enthusiastic support of a number of border sheriffs who work on the real frontline of America, but I have yet to hear from the presidential candidates who can make this plan work.

Here is what I propose:

1) Secure the border. Empower the U.S. Border Patrol and local law enforcement by giving them the needed resources to bring law and order to the border. Supply them with the money, equipment and manpower that are lacking to save American ranchers from the marauding immigrants and narco-mercenaries that are destroying their property and profiting from human and drug trade.

Give them the needed resources to end the rapes and vicious assaults on Mexican women who are crossing in the desert by:

A) Build the four layer fence in high traffic areas to work as a force multiplier for the rank and file Border Patrol agents.
B) Deploy either National Guard or Federal troops to confront and engage narco-mercenaries head-on where needed, (an already proven method as seen in the documentary BORDER) until the Border Patrol is completely prepared.
C) Enforce existing employment laws. This is the number one request of The National Border Patrol Council.

2) Tax: Tax wire transfers that leave the country. Last year, more than $62 billion was sent to Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean from the United States alone. By levying a remittance tax, funds could easily be collected wherever wire transfers of money are purchased.

3) Oil for social services: The time is now to bill Mexico for the social services incurred by undocumented Mexican immigrants, including education, incarceration and medical care. For every day a Mexican national is in a U.S. hospital, school or prison, our government should bill the Mexican government one barrel of oil per person. The business of America has always been business. We are providing services, but we aren’t billing for that service. Instead, we pass the bill to American taxpayers—taxpayers who are tired of carrying the load.

Mexico may be cash poor, but they are one of the five richest countries in natural resources on the planet. Mexico is one of our top three importers of oil and natural gas.

4) Post the Bond: Once the first three parts of the STOP program are implemented, the need to establish a reasonable and efficient guest worker program can be created.

In our plan, immigrant workers post a bond at a legal port of entry at the border. Foreign nationals seeking employment will check in at the front door. They will be issued a tamperproof id card. Any employer employing a foreign national without such card pays an automatic $10,000 fine per employee.

Such a system would enable U.S. officials to effectively track and monitor those who are entering our country. For the first time we would know who they are, why they are here, and that they are healthy and not a burden to U.S. taxpayers.

While working in the U.S., a percentage of their pay goes back to the bond/escrow account. When their work visa expires, they will have accrued a sizeable amount of money in the account. The foreign national collects that money and goes home. However, if they are even a day late in leaving, all monies in that account are forfeited to law enforcement.

Money is what drives the vast majority of people to illegally cross the border. Money is what will encourage visa compliance.

This program separates the drug dealers and criminals from the immigrants seeking honest work. This plan will work most effectively if we bid out the bonding program to a private American corporation like American Express or Visa. At any given time, Fed Ex can give us the whereabouts of our packages. Our lawmakers admittedly have lost track of 12-20 million people. Adopting such a system would put the pressure on employers who will be forced to pay an exploited foreign work force competitive American wages and related benefits.

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The S.T.O.P. plan does not answer all the questions it raises, but it’s the first in hopefully a number of concrete steps we need to take to solve the border and immigration crisis. A healthy debate on the issue will hopefully lead to a discussion amongst our lawmakers as to what steps we must take to bring peace, safety and law and order to a very dangerous situation that should not continue to exist on this, the southern border of our country.

To get better educated on what is really happening, take a look at BORDER by visiting our website at and to view the trailer.

� 2008 - Chris Burgard - All Rights Reserved

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Chris Burgard was born in Mequon, Wisconsin, the son of a police officer and a cowgirl. He later graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Theater Arts.

He moved to California in 1985, determined to become a filmmaker. He started his motion picture career as Mathew Broderick’s dance double in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. As an actor, he also appeared in commercials, the TV series Tour of Duty and Growing Pains, the films Twice Dead, 84 Charlie Mopic and the HBO pilot, Lessons Learned.

While making his living as a Hollywood stuntman, and riding bulls on the rodeo circuit, Burgard made his directorial debut on the cult horror film The Ruining, which featured Wings Hauser and Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld).

After starting Little Bonanza Productions with his wife, Lisa, in 2002, he later partnered with editor Todd Sheridan Perry and producer Jennifer Champagne to create BORDER, an investigative documentary on the state of our southern border with Mexico. Dissatisfied with second-hand media coverage, Burgard and his camera team journeyed down to the U.S. Mexican border and, over a period of several months, interviewed Border Patrol agents, illegal immigrants, Minutemen, politicians, representatives of the ACLU and local ranchers to make a realistic assessment of just how porous our border had become. The result is a fascinating and startling look into the world of illegal immigration, and, according to the New York Times, “ a terrifying glimpse of…horrors too numerous to mention.” As Scott Gordon mentioned in The Onion’s AV Club, “Maybe it will take people like Chris Burgard to redeem the American political documentary.”


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In an election year where our presidential candidates have been loath to offer detailed solutions for our border crisis and the levels of illegal immigrations that exist, I came up with what I call the S.T.O.P. plan.