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  1. #1
    Senior Member ShockedinCalifornia's Avatar
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    GOP Reps: Bill to Ban Interior Dept. From Hindering Agents

    House Of Representatives

    Updated April 14, 2010

    GOP Reps Offer Bill to Ban Interior Dept. From Hindering Border Agents

    By Joshua Rhett Miller
    - FOXNews.com

    (photo) Jan. 8, 2010: A locked gate at the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents usually wait for U.S. Forest Service officials to escort them onto federal lands even though they have keys for life-threatening situations, according to the House of Representatives' Natural Resources Committee Republicans.

    The unknown gunman who murdered an Arizona rancher three weeks ago entered and exited the U.S. illegally in an area where border agents are widely prohibited from using motorized vehicles, constructing roads and installing surveillance structures, federal agents have confirmed.

    The development prompted four Republican congressmen to introduce legislation on Wednesday that will ban the Interior Department from using environmental regulations to hinder agents along the border, including at the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, a 2,300-acre parcel near where rancher Robert Krentz was killed on March 27.

    U.S. Reps. Doc Hastings of Washington, Peter King of New York, Rob Bishop of Utah and Lamar Smith of Texas say their bill, if passed, will address environmental degradation of federal lands and help close national security gaps along the border, which they say has become an uncontrolled highway.

    "Effectively securing our borders against illegal entry is a matter of homeland security," King said in a statement prior to the scheduled 1 p.m. press conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington. "Border Patrol agents spend every day on the front line, securing our homeland from terrorists. Denying or limiting the Border Patrol access to public lands and allowing the flow of illegals, including potential terrorists, doesn't protect anything."

    The lawmakers say internal documents show that the Interior Department and the U.S. Forest Service have consistently and actively prevented Border Patrol agents from securing U.S. borders by requiring Department of Homeland Security officials to complete lengthy and expensive environmental analyses, and even blocking Border Patrol agents from entering some areas.

    "As a result, Border Patrol agents are being forced to wade through bureaucratic red tape just so they can do the job Congress has mandated: gain operational control over the U.S. border," according to a fact sheet released by the House of Representatives' Natural Resources Committee Republicans.

    Some of those federal lands are specifically targeted by criminals, drug traffickers and human smugglers for easy access into the United States from Mexico or Canada, the congressmen say. The Interior Department, the primary land management agency for 40 percent of the Mexican border and 10 percent of the Canadian border, warned of potential problems in a fiscal year 2002-2003 Threat Assessment for Public Lands.

    "Virtually all of the lands managed by Department Of The Interior (DOI) along the Arizona/Mexico border are sparsely populated with easy access into the United States from Mexico," the report reads. "Terrorist [sic] wishing to smuggle nuclear -- biological -- or chemical (NBC) weapons into the United States from Mexico could use well-established smuggling routes over DOI managed lands."

    Border Patrol agents, park rangers and private citizens have been killed in these federal lands, most recently on March 27, when Krentz was murdered by a person who entered and exited the U.S. illegally via the San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge -- a fact confirmed to the House of Representatives' Natural Resources Committee Republicans by officials from both Customs and Border Protection and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

    In 2007, Krentz's wife, Sue, wrote a letter to Congress opposing additional wilderness areas in Arizona she claimed would worsen criminal activity along the border.

    "We have experienced $6.2 million dollars of damages to our ranch and water line because of illegal foot traffic," the letter read. "These areas along the border have long been targeted because of the high amount of private property with[in] the boundaries."

    Krentz wrote that ranchers in the area, herself included, were fearful for their lives.

    "It is not right that illegal immigrants and drug smugglers should take precedence over honest, hard working Americans whose recreation and livelihood is damaged," the letter continued. "It is the job of the federal government to protect the defined United States borders from invasion."

    In addition to blocking efforts to secure the border, the Republican lawmakers say Interior officials are charging Homeland Security millions of dollars for conducting Border Patrol operations on its land.

    According to the fact sheet supplied by the House of Representatives' Natural Resources Committee Republicans, DHS has paid DOI more than $9 million since 2007 to mitigate the "environmental damage" of protecting the border. DHS officials agreed to pay an additional $50 million for mitigation funds to DOI, according to a memorandum of agreement in 2009, but DOI officials have yet to disclose how exactly those funds will be used.

    "This extortion is taking valuable money away from Border Patrol that is needed to safeguard our nation," the fact sheet read.

    Rancher Wendy Glenn, Krentz's longtime friend and neighbor who heard the man's last radio transmission to his brother, said she and other residents in the area have been calling for increased border security for years.

    Glenn, who has roughly four miles of border fence along Malpai Ranch, said the ineffective and "wildlife-friendly" barrier ranges from large Normandy-style "X" crosses to standard posts and rails, topping off at no more than six feet high.

    "It doesn't keep any people out," Glenn told FoxNews.com earlier this month. "We don't want any more fence here. We want more people on the border. No matter what they put in, they're going to tunnel under, cut through, or use ladders. We don't need that … We need more people on the border."

    Glenn characterized the border fence as a "big waste of money" and called for increased federal presence along the remote areas, as well increased communication among law enforcement agencies.

    Calls to DOI officials seeking comment were not immediately returned.

    http://www.foxnews.com/

  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    "Border Patrol agents spend every day on the front line, securing our homeland from terrorists. Denying or limiting the Border Patrol access to public lands and allowing the flow of illegals, including potential terrorists, doesn't protect anything."
    Well stated Rep. King. Sounds like good common sense legislation, so wonder how far it will go?
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  3. #3
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    Jean wrote:
    Quote:
    "Border Patrol agents spend every day on the front line, securing our homeland from terrorists. Denying or limiting the Border Patrol access to public lands and allowing the flow of illegals, including potential terrorists, doesn't protect anything."

    "Well stated Rep. King. Sounds like good common sense legislation, so wonder how far it will go?"

    Please write your Representative requesting that he/she co-sponsor and/or strongly support this legislation. It's a good bill: let's help get it passed!
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  4. #4
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    We need to support this. As far as the fence, maybe a proper fence, such as the type that Israel uses, would be more successful. That with more agents and patrol efforts, would surely make an impact.

    The ability for hundreds, if not thousands to cross daily, illegally, does not speak well of any measures that our government is currently undertaking.

    Matthew 10:32

    It is written,...Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.
    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
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  5. #5
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    For the record the following is a direct link to this article:
    www.foxnews.com
    The above one was to their homepage.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member tinybobidaho's Avatar
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    Here's another article about this:


    GOP: Border Patrol should control federal lands
    By MATTHEW DALY - Associated Press Writer
    Published: 04/14/10

    A group of House Republicans say Border Patrol agents should be granted direct control over U.S. borders, even on federal lands managed by other agencies.

    Lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday to transfer operational control of lands along the federal border to the Department of Homeland Security, instead of the Interior Department or Forest Service. The land agencies would still manage national parks, forests and other public lands, but would not have authority to block Border Patrol agents from acting as they see fit to secure border areas.

    The lawmakers say the change is needed to improve border security, which they say is hampered by federal land managers more concerned with protecting wilderness and endangered species than securing the border.

    "The Border Patrol is not being allowed do their job. That has to change," said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah.

    At a news conference Wednesday, Bishop and other lawmakers accused federal land managers of "hiding behind the law" to place wilderness or endangered species ahead of border safety. "It's unforgivable," he said.

    Bishop and other lawmakers cited the March 27 death of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz as an example of the failure of current policy. Law enforcement officials say Krentz's killer likely entered the United States through the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, a remote area near Douglas, Ariz., and Agua Prieta, Mexico.

    The Fish and Wildlife Service manages the 2,300-acre refuge, where motorized vehicles are widely prohibited and roads and surveillance structures are scarce. In one instance, a tower used by Border Patrol agents was removed because of concerns about endangered species, said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., senior Republican on the Homeland Security Committee.

    King called the proposed legislation "essential to restore common sense" along the border. He called it absurd that the Border Patrol, an arm of the Homeland Security agency, must negotiate with the Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies to control the border.

    "This is Alice-in-Wonderland type material," King said. "The average American wouldn't believe it."

    Kendra Barkoff, a spokeswoman for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, said federal land managers are committed to controlling the border and work effectively with the Border Patrol.

    Salazar himself spent two days on the Texas and Arizona border last month, Barkoff said. She called the visit "extremely productive" for both land managers and federal, state and local law enforcement. Salazar toured the border by helicopter and foot and was briefed by Border Patrol agents and land managers.

    "Secretary Salazar believes that we can meet the twin goals of protecting our national security and our natural resources," Barkoff said in an e-mail, adding that federal agencies have made significant progress on border issues since President Barack Obama took office last year.

    Matthew Chandler, a spokesman for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, said his agency is committed to a positive working relationship with Interior and the Forest Service, which manages vast acreage along the U.S.-Canada border, as well as smaller parcels on the southern border.

    "We respect the missions of these agencies and, as challenges arise, we will continue to develop workable solutions on special status lands," Chandler said.

    But Bishop said federal border lands have become a dangerous, "unpatrolled highway" open to drug smugglers and other criminals who endanger American lives and cause severe environmental damage. He and other lawmakers said federal land managers routinely hinder the Border Patrol from securing U.S. borders by requiring lengthy and expensive environmental analyses, and even prevent Border Patrol agents from entering some areas.

    Rancher Krentz "paid the ultimate price" for the negligence of authorities in the United States and Mexico, Bishop said. Krentz was found shot to death March 27 on his ranch near Douglas, Ariz. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said evidence at the scene appears consistent with the known behavior of drug runners working for cartels based in Mexico. Cochise County investigators have said they don't have a motive or suspects.

    Three members of New Mexico's congressional delegation have asked Napolitano to boost border patrols in the Boot Heel of New Mexico, about 10 miles from the area where Krentz was shot


    http://www.idahostatesman.com/2010/04/1 ... ntrol.html
    RIP TinybobIdaho -- May God smile upon you in his domain forevermore.

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  7. #7
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    This is from Rep. Lamar Smith's website. It would be good to have the bill number for this before writing to Congressional representatives.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010 Jamie Zuieback (202) 225-6906

    Republicans Introduce Legislation to Secure the Border on Federal Lands

    Today, House National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Ranking Member Rob Bishop (R-UT), House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (R-WA), Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Peter King (R-NY) and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced legislation to prohibit the Department of the Interior (DOI) from using environmental regulations to hinder U.S. Border Patrol from securing our border on federal lands.

    As a result of DOI’s actions, these federal lands have become an unpatrolled highway that’s open to criminals, drug smugglers, human traffickers and terrorists who endanger American lives and cause severe environmental damage.

    Just recently, Arizona rancher Rob Krentz was killed by a criminal who entered and exited the U.S. on federal land through the San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge. This is one of the areas that Border Patrol has been unable to effectively monitor. In 2007, Rob and his wife wrote a letter to Members of Congress expressing concern over the criminal activity that was taking place in Wilderness areas along the border, writing that “we are in fear for our lives and safety and health of ourselves and that of our families and friends.
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  8. #8
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Utah congressman's bill would boost border agents' power
    Homeland Security » Interior Department says agencies are cooperating.

    By Matt Canham

    The Salt Lake Tribune
    Updated: 04/14/2010 03:45:29 PM MDT


    Washington » Rep. Rob Bishop believes "politically correct policies" have allowed environmental concerns to trump national security at the nation's southern border. The Utah Republican introduced a bill Wednesday that would reverse the power dynamic, giving border patrol agents broad access to federally protected lands to hunt for drug smugglers and human traffickers.

    "The Department of Interior, and to a lesser extent the Forest Service, have failed to protect American citizens," said Bishop, the ranking member of the public lands subcommittee. "Border patrol is not being allowed to do their jobs and that has got to stop."

    Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said the department is still reviewing Bishop's bill, but she touted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's two-day trip to the border last month, where he met with land managers and law enforcement with the Homeland Security Department.

    She said Homeland Security and Interior have collaborated, allowing towers to be constructed on federally protected wild lands.

    "Secretary Salazar believes that we can meet the twin goals of protecting our national security and our natural resources," Barkoff said. "There is much work to be done, however."

    Bishop toured the same region as Salazar in January and he said ongoing negotiations to decide where border agents can drive and where Homeland Security can construct towers has taken too long and left too many acres unguarded.

    "We've had plenty of time for the Interior Department to work with Homeland Security to solve this problem," he said, arguing that Interior has used environmental laws as "their trump card."

    His bill, cosponsored by the top Republicans on the homeland security and natural resources committees, is a mere 11 lines long and says Interior and the Department of Agriculture can not "impede, prohibit, or restrict activities" of Homeland Security to control the border.

    Bishop said the issue is not exclusive to the Obama administration and goes back to the creation of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush.

    Part of his impetus for pushing the issue now was the recent murder of Arizona rancher Rob Krentz, who was shot by a person who entered and exited a wilderness area on the Mexico border.

    Krentz' death comes two years after he and his wife sent a letter to Congress warning that wilderness protection areas allowed criminals easy access to the United States. In the letter, they wrote about issues ranging from hunting to off-road vehicles, but they also mentioned their personal safety.

    "We are in fear for our lives and safety and health of ourselves and that of our family and friends," they wrote.

    Afterward the Krentz family issued a statement blaming the U.S. and Mexican governments for lax border security.

    "For the Krentz family it is too late," Bishop said. "If we had done this earlier, Rob Krentz may still be with us today."

    His bill is now at the start of the legislative process and he will seek a hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee.

    http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_14883459
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  9. #9
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Added to Homepage using title from one article above and applied it to another:
    http://www.alipac.us/article-5135--0-0.html
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  10. #10
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    NumbersUSA now has a fax for members to send your representative about this bill:

    "ACTION: Send...fax to your U.S. Representative urging immediate co-sponsorship to push H.R. 5016 to an emergency vote."

    See:
    Honor murdered rancher with great new border bill
    http://www.alipac.us/ftopict-194959.html

    Roy Beck's notice above also includes further information about the bill and border situation.

    Note: You can join NumbersUSA without charge to send free faxes to elected officials at: www.numbersusa.com/content/
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