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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Border Patrol stymied by other agencies, former agents say

    By Jerry Seper
    The Washington Times
    Wednesday, July 3, 2013

    Photo by: Gabe Hernandez
    **FILE** People wait under a tree after they were detained by Border Patrol agents on June 25, 2013, at a field in Edinburg, Texas. Agents took into custody 69 people suspected of entering the country illegally. (Associated Press/The Monitor)

    With Congress vowing to secure the nation’s borders as part of an immigration bill that proposes hiring 20,000 new Border Patrol agents, several former immigration officers say border agents have been inhibited in their efforts to patrol the Southwest border by other agencies.

    The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, along with more than 50 lawmakers, argues that border security has taken a back seat to the environmental concerns of the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

    “Their focus is environmental protection, not national security, and they apply their rules to other government agencies regardless of impact on other missions,” the association said in a statement. “While on paper the Border Patrol has access to the lands managed by these other agencies, in actual practice their rules denied free access on an as-needed basis.”

    The group said that access is being impeded not just to vehicles patrolling the border, but generally bars infrastructure such as cameras, sensors, radio towers and landing strips and pads for aircraft in areas distant from the border.

    “To be controlled effectively, there must be in-depth activity by the Border Patrol extending as deep, in some places, as 100 miles,” said the association, whose membership includes several former Border Patrol chiefs and regional directors of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. The group said the lack of access, especially in the wilderness areas along the border, essentially cedes U.S. territory to the ever-more-violent drug smugglers.

    Rep. Rob W. Bishop, Utah Republican, has introduced legislation to prohibit the secretaries of Interior and Agriculture from taking action on federal lands within 100 miles of an international land border that impedes border security. The bill would give the Border Patrol access to land under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management “to prevent all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband through the international land borders of the United States.”

    It also would allow Customs and Border Patrol access to federal lands to construct and maintain fences and roads; use vehicles and aircraft to patrol; install, maintain and operate surveillance equipment and sensors; and deploy forward operating bases.

    Mr. Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources subcommittee that oversees public lands, said taking up “sweeping immigration reform is futile unless we address some of the biggest problems plaguing border security first.”

    “Right now, environmental land management policies are trumping national security efforts,” he said. “We have basically rolled out the welcome mat for drug cartels on federal lands because environmental policies restrict the U.S. Border Patrol’s ability to secure some of the most heavily trafficked areas of the southern border.”

    He said current land management policies block the Border Patrol from having sufficient access, meaning that those wanting to enter the country illegally have virtually unfettered access. He said many who enter the U.S. unlawfully are working for drug cartels, but the Border Patrol’s lack of sufficient access to federal lands is contributing to the growing number of those who remain in the country illegally.

    “At some point we are going to have to take actual steps to fix the problem,” he said.

    The National Border Patrol Council, which represents the Border Patrol’s nonsupervisory agents, said it had “serious concerns” about the provision in the recently passed Senate immigration bill to hire 20,000 new Border Patrol agents, nearly doubling the agency’s manpower.

    “Unless we’re going to form a human chain from Brownsville to Imperial Beach, I’m not sure this is going to be the cure that everybody thinks it will be at the border,” said Shawn Moran, a council vice president. “We don’t have money for gas or ammunition or uniforms, and that’s at 21,000 agents. I’m not sure how we’re going to be able to handle 40,000 agents. I don’t know where we’re going to put them.”

    The council had a different proposal to reform agents’ pay, which Mr. Moran said would have put more agents into the field and would have been the equivalent of a 5,000-agent boost over the course of a year. But that proposal got held up along with the hundreds of other amendments that never were put to a vote.
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    The administration's cynical manipulation of rules.

    EPA’s ‘Border Environmental’ Agreement Ignores Damage Done by Illegal Aliens

    August 10, 2012 - 4:51 PM
    By Penny Starr
    Trash on federal land in Roskruge-Recortado Mountains of Arizona. (Photo from Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Dept. of Interior)

    ( – Illegal aliens left an estimated 1,000 tons of trash while crossing the Arizona border into the United States last year, according to state officials.

    According to federal government estimates, illegals each year leave more than 500 tons of trash and more than 100 abandoned vehicles at just one national wildlife refuge along the Arizona border.

    But that kind of environmental impact is not mentioned in a new U.S. agreement with Mexico on border environmental issues.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Aug. 8 that it had signed an agreement with Mexico to address “high priority border environmental issues.”
    Those issues, according to the agreement, include reducing air pollution, improving access to clean air and water, and to “enhance compliance assurance and environmental stewardship” on both sides of the border.

    But the 43-page document, “Border 2020: U.S-Mexico Environmental Program,” does not include any language about the ongoing impact to federal lands in the United States caused by human and drug trafficking and other illegal activities of Mexican drug cartels and other people who are illegally entering the country.

    The agreement states that “protecting the health and the environment in the border region is essential to ensuring that the U.S. continues to be safe, healthy and economically productive,” but does not address the environmental and safety threat posed in the border region by illegal immigration and other crimes.

    In Arizona, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings, the trashing of the southern border area by illegals has become a “huge problem,” according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

    In 2011 alone, illegal border crossers left an estimated 1,000 tons of trash at Arizona border areas, ADEQ spokesman Mark Shaffer told

    According to the latest statistics from the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection, 340,252 people were apprehended for entering the United States illegally in Fiscal Year 2011. Included in that number were 327,577 apprehended along the southwest border -- 129,188 of whom were apprehended in Arizona's Tucson and Yuma sectors, which together constitute the state’s border with Mexico. (nationwide stats.pdfsouthwest border stats-1.pdf)

    The federal Government Accountability Office (GAO), meanwhile, says “illegal border activities” along the U.S.-Mexico border constitute “a threat to both public health and safety.

    In a report to the House Committee on Natural Resources published in December 2010, the GAO said the extent of environmental damage done and the threat to public safety caused by “illegal border activity” was “substantial.”

    “Law enforcement officials told us that some remote federal lands along the U.S. border are often used to smuggle drugs or humans into the country,” the report states. “According to these officials, such illegal activities can damage sensitive wildlife habitat and threaten public safety."

    In Arizona, tons of trash constituted just one form of “environmental damage” caused by illegals, according to the GAO.

    “Officials at every unit we visited in Arizona reported substantial natural resource damage from illegal border activity,” the report said.

    The GAO singled out the environmental damage caused at one national wildlife refuge that serves as a staging area for illegal entry.

    “In 2006, for example, the Refuge Manager of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge testified before the House of Representative’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies of the Committee on Appropriations that an estimated 235,000 people entered the United States illegally across refuge lands in 2005,” the report said.

    “He reported that illegal border crossers had disturbed wildlife and created more than 1,300 miles of illegal trails, causing the loss of vegetation and severe erosion,” the GAO said.

    “He also estimated that each year illegal border crossers leave more than 500 tons of trash and more than 100 abandoned vehicles on the refuge.”

    The report noted that “illegal border crossers have started wildland fires, either by accident (e.g., from a cooking fire that escaped) or on purpose (e.g., to divert law enforcement resources away from certain areas).”

    Several endangered species also are under attack from illegal crossings, the GAO said.
    “Officials at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge [Arizona] told us that illegal border activity was damaging sensitive desert ecosystems -- including habitat for several threatened or endangered species, such as the masked bobwhite quail and Sonoran pronghorn -- although the officials were unable to quantify the effects of illegal activity on these populations,” the report states.

    The GAO also said that the illegal activities are a threat to public safety.

    “According to law enforcement officials at the units we visited, the public and agency employees can also be victims of violence, including assault, rape, and homicide, on federal lands. Although land management officials stressed that this kind of violence remains rare, several units we visited reported some violent incidents,” the report noted.

    When asked the EPA why the issues of environmental damage and the health and public safety threat to citizens caused by drug and human trafficking is not addressed in the agreement, an EPA spokesperson said only that the information in the GAO report was “outside the jurisdiction of EPA and the Border 2020 Program.”

    The new agreement replaces the Border 2012 agreement, which ends this year, according to the EPA.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    Fear On The Arizona Border

    Published on Mar 5, 2012

    Testimony from ranchers and residents on Arizona's border with Mexico. Given some of their comments, you'll understand why their identities are concealed.

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