ð NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUES

 
   
 

For more information on Border Wilderness issues - Wilderness On The Border - A Bad Idea 

See News section for our complete news archive

M3 Report - Reports derived and translated directly from Mexican and Central American News Sources by the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO)

 
As of July, 2010, more than 28,000 people have been killed in drug related violence since 2006.  We do not want create a smuggling corridor in our county that will invite this type of criminal violence to move in to our community.  Attacks on the Mexican government and civilians, including journalists, are escalating.
 
 

"The presence of any wilderness on the Mexican border is a danger to the security of the United States"

Jim Switzer, National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers

Motor vehicles are prohibited in Wilderness areas, which creates a very serious handicap for members of our law enforcement community, resulting in a direct threat to our national security.  These areas become havens for drug smuggling, human smuggling and other criminal activity.

Wilderness advocates claim that wilderness designation will not affect law enforcement activities.  We have a collection of news items that clearly indicate otherwise.  Wilderness on the border is a very bad idea.

Former Border Patrol Officers - NO CONFIDENCE (new 8/30/10)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Vote of No Confidence in ICE Director and Assistant Director  (new 8/4/10)

FBI - On The Southwest Border - Corruption, Drugs, Gangs and More  (new 8/4/10)

From a 2004 US General Accounting Office (GAO) Report titled "Border Security - Agencies Need to Better Coordinate Their Strategies and Operations on Federal Lands", comes the following statement:  "Congress has designated areas within some federal lands as wilderness under the Wilderness Act of 1964 and subsequent legislation, while the Fish and Wildlife Service has designated certain areas as critical habitat for endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Federal law enforcement officers told us that these designations can hinder their efforts. For example, motorized vehicles must generally remain on designated roads in wilderness areas, and the Wilderness Act generally prohibits construction of permanent structures such as communications towers in wilderness areas."

Richard Hayes, retired Chief of Air Operations for the Border Patrol, expresses his concerns by stating "The current effort to create Wilderness along the border in Dona Ana County and ultimately the expansion of such activities along the extended border is dangerous and ill conceived."

David Bemiller, the Border Patrol Tucson Sector's public-lands liaison is quoted as stating "The smuggling organizations are very aware of where the protected lands are. They're aware of where the [Border Patrol's] restrictions are, and tend to take advantage of them. They exploit the wilderness areas." 

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers has prepared a document which expresses their concern about proposed wilderness areas.  Current government employees face many organizational and political pressures which can heavily influence what they are able to say and put in writing.  Retired employees are not bound by those constraints and are at liberty to speak freely.  In their cover letter, Mr. Kent Lundgren, Chairman, states "The purpose of this document is to bring attention to the fallacy, and danger, of efforts underway to further deny Federal Law Enforcement Officers (Border Patrol Agents), access to areas necessary to defend our southern borders by granting additional "wilderness area" designations.  Our southern border is today more vulnerable to terrorist activities than at any other time in our National history.  This is not the time to consider additional designations as 'wilderness'.  It may be appropriate at this time for our Country to repeal some previously approved wilderness designations to insure the best possible chance for success in ongoing security activities." 

The press release prepared by the NAFBO also includes this:  "In each wilderness debate, there has been a continued reference to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was agreed to between the Departments of Homeland Security, Interior, and Agriculture which provides for Border Patrol access to Federal lands.  That MOU spells out clearly the ability to operate on such lands including designated wilderness.  In wilderness designated areas, the Patrol has the right for entry if in pursuit, however, normal deterrent operations, including the maintenance and placement of technical surveillance equipment would require negotiations between the Agencies involved.  Considering the urgency of protecting our borders, negotiating for access which could take up to 90 days is unacceptably dangerous."  It is also important to understand that a MOU is not a binding document.

Their document, titled "WILDERNESS, BORDER PATROL, AND NATIONAL SECURITY", contains some very significant information. In this document, they state "This effort to create a wilderness designation for a large portion of our southern border did not originate from citizens of New Mexico and Arizona.  It originated from the NMWA and Sky Island Alliance.  These groups share genesis and past board membership from the environmental movement, Earth First!.  The father of Earth First!, Dave Foreman., is the founder of NMWA.  It was Mr. Foreman who wrote the book “Ecodefense; A Field Guide to Monkey Wrenching.”  These are the folks who promoted the spiking of trees, the burning of high end condominiums, the destruction of new cars on parking lots, and the sinking of whaling ships."  (Note: NMWA is the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance)  They go on to state "The Tumacacori Highlands of Arizona, and the Potrillo Mountains and Broad Canyon portion of the New Mexico proposal are not just idealistic areas where “earth and its community of life are undisturbed by man”.   If they become wilderness, they will be heralded not only by those who believe wilderness designation should be made at any cost, but equally by human smugglers, drug runners, and those committed to the destruction of our country."    The document references an interview by the El Paso Times in August with Michael McConnell, Director of National Intelligence.  For a summary of that interview, click here.

Click here for additional information on Dave Foreman, EarthFirst!, and Mr. Foreman's association and influence on the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.  The Summer 2007 NMWA newsletter states that Dave Foreman "provided many, if not most, of the philosophical underpinnings that guide the work of NMWA."

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers has a website, with information on border issues, immigration, and the effects on National Security.  See also the Border Invasion website.

The Liberal, KS Southwest Daily Times wrote an article featuring Mr. Zack Taylor - "Former border patrol agent speaks on immigration".  "One of the worries Taylor currently has about immigration are two bills, HR 3287 and HR 2593. The first would designate part of the United States/Mexico border in Arizona as wilderness. The second would designate all of the United States border with both Canada and Mexico as wilderness.  'A wilderness designation in the United States is very restrictive as to what you can do when you’re on the wilderness area,' he explained. 'You cannot take any kind of mechanized equipment on there – not even a bicycle.'  A couple of weeks ago, a hiker discovered an illegal immigrant who had been shot three times by bandits, called bajardoras.  'Groups of three to six with automatic weapons go into these wilderness areas and they rob the illegal aliens that are going through, and if they give them any resistance, they just shoot them,' Taylor said. 'This is what a lot of people don’t understand, that the victim is the person coming here.'  Since the man was found in an area designated as a wilderness, he had to be rescued by foot – a group walked to him with a stretcher and carried him back out. From the time he was found until he was taken to the hospital took 12 hours, Taylor said.  The bills are currently pending, he added, but if passed, they would hinder the duties of the border patrol, because it would keep the border patrolmen away from the border unless they were on foot or horseback.  'The congressmen that are supporting it know that this is going to make this area more dangerous. It’s going to encourage the smugglers to use it more, and they’re trying to cloak it as wilderness to get it passed,' he said. 'These wildernesses should never be considered on or near the international borders.'  But mainly, he said, the bills would keep border patrols from being able to do their job. Part of what they do is to enforce immigration laws. The purpose of those laws, he said, is to protect the American economy and American jobs and to protect the public safety and national security."

Listen to a radio interview:  Roger Hedgecock, San Diego KOGO radio talk show host interviews Zack Taylor, retired Border Patrol officer, on his radio program about the proposed Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness designation (HR 3287 & 2593) and how it would affect fire fighting efforts and hamper the Border Patrol efforts to stop drug smuggling, human smuggling, and terrorist activity on our borders.

Tucson Weekly article "The Chiricahua Corridor" examines the damage to public lands, private property and local residents by illegal immigrants.  "Much of the badly impacted land, like Burro Springs, is in the 87,700-acre Chiricahua Wilderness. It offers a preview of what could be in store for the Tumacacori Highlands northeast of Nogales, if Rep. Raúl Grijalva gets his way and wins a wilderness designation for that land. Trash dumps will grow. Underbrush will expand. Trails won't be maintained. The land will fall out of the control of the people who should be managing it and under the control of those who don't belong there."  Illegal immigrants will go where the Border Patrol can't.  Designation of federal Wilderness and other "protective areas" along our borders makes it impossible for federal and local law enforcement to perform their duties.

Photos, videos and other documentation of the Border Invasion - www.borderinvasionpics.com

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers has a website, with information on border issues, immigration, and the effects on National Security.  See also the Border Invasion website.

Other areas along our country's southern border have already discovered the serious impacts on law enforcement and threats to national security that result from the restrictions on areas designated as wilderness.  Dona Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison has stated "I have seen what has happened along the border in Arizona where it also has been turned into a wilderness area, and because of this, I, as Sheriff, had concerns for county residents."

One of the areas Sheriff Garrison is referring to is the Cabeza Prieta in Arizona, which shares 56 miles of border with Mexico.  Over 90 percent of the refuge was designated as wilderness by the 1990 Arizona Wilderness Act.  Since then, more than 200 miles of illegal roads have been created because of the traffic of illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.  Managers of the area estimate each person leaves behind 8 pounds of trash as they cross this area, resulting in over 2 MILLION pounds of trash annually.  Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the Coronado National Monument have the same problems and issues.

The National Park Service website has safety warning information for Organ Pipe and Coronado.  The warning sign to the left is from Coronado.  The Organ Pipe safety page contains the following information:  "Every year thousands of people are attracted to this remote location for its apparent ease with which they can illegally enter the USA.", "the monument's wilderness is laced with hundreds of miles of unofficial roads and trails." and "As a result of illegal immigrants crossing out borders, other unlawful acts do occur within the monument.".

This area has also become a haven for drug and human trafficking.  US Park Ranger Kris Eggle was shot and killed in the line of duty at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on August 9, 2002, while pursuing members of a drug cartel hit squad who fled into the United States after committing a string who fled into the United States after committing a string or murders in Mexico.  He was 28 years old.

FROM THE FEDERAL LAND MANAGEMENT AGENCIES

From an April 9, 2009 press release from the BLM - " BLM Cautions Public Regarding Border Violence" - "The international border with Mexico is becoming of increasing concern to the U.S. Government due to an increase in dangerous illegal activities and an escalating trend in border violence."

BLM Southern Arizona Project to Mitigate Environmental Damages Resulting from Illegal Immigration

From the National Park Service - The following announcement is posed on the website for the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument: "Due to an increase in illegal border activity, all backcountry areas are closed indefinitely to both hiking and overnight camping. Please check with the staff at the Kris Eggle Visitor Center for current information.   We anticipate this will be a temporary closure, though we are not certain when we can expect areas to reopen."  Note: We are uncertain of when this advisory was first posted, but it was on the above website for most of 2008, and was still on the website as of 03/29/2010.

From the Arizona Game & Fish website for Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge:  Special Note Regarding Border Issues: "Unit 36B is a corridor for the trafficking of undocumented aliens (UDAs) and drugs. Hunters will see the trails and trash left by these people. Hunters are urged to use caution when hunting and camping in 36B or any of the other border units. It is advisable to use some sort of visible anti-theft device on your vehicle, for vehicle thefts have increased the past two years. Having a group of UDAs walk through a hunting area may negatively impact your hunt. The key to hunting in the border units is the ability to flex and adapt."  See this link for closure information on the area.

According to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, "Law enforcement work in the National Park Service is the most dangerous in federal service. National Park Service officers are 12 times more likely to be killed or injured as a result of an assault than FBI agents. Overall, NPS law enforcement has a morbidity rate triple that of the next worst federal agency."

Portion of US Wildlife Refuge Closed Due to Violent Border Activity
Pinal County Sheriff: Mexican Drug Cartels Now Control Parts of Arizona
Pinal County Sheriff Asks Obama for Troops
U.S. Government Giving Parts of Arizona Back to Mexico
Borderland Beat - Pinal County Sheriff: Mexican Drug Cartels Now Control Parts of Arizona
BorderFire Report - US Gov Giving Parts of Arizona Back to Mexico

Mr. Zack Taylor has a degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Florida, and worked for the Border Patrol from 1976 to 2003.  He worked alien and drug smuggler traffic in the proposed Wilderness area from 1988-2003.  In his editorial "Observations on the Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness Proposal" he states: "When the access road through Peck Canyon was closed to vehicle traffic, the drug traffic increased.  When the vehicle access through Circulo Sombrero was closed the violence and the drug traffic further increased to the point that Tubac is now becoming world famous as a place where old west style killings are taking place today.  This is no coincidence and from my experience is directly related to the lack of access to the area.  Does Tubac want to be known as the Tombstone of the twenty first century?"  "To further restrict lawful access to this area will, from my experience, increase the drug and alien smuggling in the area and escalate the level of violence throughout.  As Mrs. Lowell so correctly pointed out it is not now safe to go afield unarmed in this area.  The armed smugglers are already prevalent in the area.  Lock it up and they will take control." 

The chart below showing deaths in the Tucson sector is from the Government Accountability Office report "Illegal Immigration - Border-Crossing Deaths Have Doubled Since 1995; Border Patrol's Efforts to Prevent Deaths Have Not Been Fully Evaluated."  While there are numerous factors that enter in to these statistics, the steady increase begins after the passing of the Arizona Wilderness Act of 1990.

The number of border-crossing deaths in the Tucson sector increased from 11 deaths in 1998 to 216 deaths in 2005.  From the GAO report: "...the Tucson Sector’s share of all border-crossing deaths increased tenfold, from 4.3 percent of all deaths in 1998 to 45.8 percent in 2005, so that by 2005, of the 472 deaths that occurred across all nine southwest sectors, 216 occurred within the Tucson Sector."

In comparison, here are the recorded deaths in the Yuma sector, which adjoins the west side of the Tucson sector.

And the El Paso sector which adjoins the east side of the Tucson sector.

The data in the report shows that the apprehensions in the area decreased, while the number of deaths in the area increased.

The GAO report states that the reasons for this are unclear.  They go on to state: "While there is evidence that increasing numbers of migrants have employed smugglers to help them cross the border illegally across all nine southwest Border Patrol sectors in recent years, smuggling may be especially dangerous in the Tucson Sector. Border Patrol officials reported that migrants who are unable to keep up with smugglers may be left behind in extreme desert temperatures without sufficient food or water.  Alternatively, the inverse relationship between apprehensions and deaths in the Tucson Sector could arise if apprehending migrants has become more difficult in Tucson than in other sectors. This could result from a number of factors such as changes in the number of agents assigned to patrol the sector or the number of migrants who are able to evade apprehension by attempting to cross in particularly remote areas of the sector."

The wilderness designation is an open invitation for this kind of activity.  People are well aware of the lack of ability by enforcement agencies to utilize motorized vehicles for patrol purposes, and word quickly spreads that the area is a haven for illegal activity.  David Bemiller, the Border Patrol Tucson Sector's public-lands liaison is quoted as stating "The smuggling organizations are very aware of where the protected lands are. They're aware of where the [Border Patrol's] restrictions are, and tend to take advantage of them. They exploit the wilderness areas." 

The GAO (US Government Accountability Office) released a report on 09/27/07: "Security Vulnerabilities at Unmanned and Unmonitored U.S. Border Locations".  They state "The possibility that terrorists and criminals might exploit border vulnerabilities and enter the United States poses a serious security risk... Congress is concerned that unmanned and unmonitored areas between these ports of entry may be vulnerable. ... In unmonitored locations, CBP does not have this equipment in place and must rely on alert citizens or other information sources to meet its obligation to protect the border." 

In the summary of the GAO report, they indicate for "Federally managed lands adjacent to border", that "Investigators approached the U.S.-Mexico border", and observed "No visible law enforcement response, no observable electronic monitoring equipment, investigators observed evidence of frequent border crossings into the United States at this location."   They also state "However, our limited security assessment identified potential security vulnerabilities on federally managed lands adjacent to the U.S.–Mexico border; we did not observe monitoring or a law enforcement presence during the time our investigators visited these areas. The Department of the Interior (Interior) provided us with a memorandum of understanding between itself; the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), of which CBP is a component; and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) documenting the agreed approach to protecting federal lands along U.S. borders. Although CBP is ultimately responsible for protecting these areas, officials told us that certain legal, environmental, and cultural considerations limit options for enforcement. ... Our observations on the southern border showed a significant disparity between the large law enforcement presence on state lands in one state and what seemed to be a lack of law enforcement presence on federally managed lands."

The "environmental considerations" mentioned in the GAO report that have such a crippling effect on national security will only increase with federal wilderness designation.  A Fox News article from 5/7/08 stated "In 2006 alone, more than 1.18 million pounds of trash was collected along the southern Arizona border... Arizona officials have spent approximately $4.4 million over five years to clean up the mess, that continues to build with each crossing. Nearly $1 million was spent for 2007 from a base BLM appropriation.  Border Patrol's Tucson sector, which covers most of the Arizona border, doesn't have statistics about how many people cross through each year, but on average, agents apprehend 1,500 people a day, with 378,000 undocumented immigrants caught in 2007 alone."

There are also similar concerns about White Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss, and the potential for negative impacts on military operations and security.  Fire fighting activities and Search & Rescue operations will also be burdened with the restrictions imposed on areas with a wilderness designation.

National Geographic featured a series of articles on the Cabeza Prieta Wilderness along the border in Arizona.  The series is titled "Border Patrol: Along the Devil's Highway".  The article states "Arizona's Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge used to be a pristine desert.  Now it's the front line in America's immigration battle, rife with garbage, drug runners, and illegal aliens.  Welcome to the nation's most troubled wilderness."  Like every visitor to the Cabeza Prieta wilderness, the author was required to sign "Hold Harmless" agreement indicating he understood the dangers of visiting this area.  "The agreement did not mention other morbid, even ghoulish, possibilities, such as stumbling over dead bodies, witnessing ongoing gun battles between Border Patrol agents and drug smugglers, being run down in the night by a drug-laden vehicle speeding overland with no lights, or having my own vehicle—including all of my water—stolen while I was off hiking."   The author also states "Cabeza is now a prime spot for drug runners."

The US Department of State website contains Information on the impacts of illegal immigration on federally owned lands.  They provide a report titled "Impacts Caused by Undocumented Aliens Crossing Federal Lands in Southeast Arizona", along with other press releases on this issue.

These photos, taken of a "layup area" south of Tuscon, give a better understanding of the impact.  See Snopes for additional info.  Also check out the BLM reports on the impacts of undocumented aliens crossing federal lands in southern Arizona.

Menu of All AZ BLM Reports
FY 2009 Summary Report
FY 2009 Fact Sheet

  • Cleanup efforts include the areas within 100 miles of the border
  • 234 tons of trash, 62 vehicles, 404 bicycles, approximately 800 tires removed
  • Tohono O'odham Reservation removed over 20 tons of trash
  • AZ Game & Fish removed over 20 tons of trash
  • Cost for FY 2009 was $1,137,500
  • Photo of typical layup site

The Wilderness designation closes all roads that have not been "cherry stemmed", and does not allow ANY motorized vehicles, except when the managing governmental agencies "deem it necessary".  This will have far-reaching consequences for all law enforcement agencies, including Border Patrol, Homeland Security, State Police, Sheriff's office, County officers, etc.  Search and rescue efforts become much more difficult as well.  The end result is a substantial threat the national security.

Our law enforcement officer's ability to pursue criminals, drug traffickers, illegal aliens, etc. will be next to impossible when they are unable to use motorized vehicles as they deem necessary on public lands. 

Not only does the federal wilderness designation hamper law enforcement, it opens the door for environmental groups to file numerous lawsuits to create additional hardships for the agencies charged with protecting our national security.  Wilderness designations next to our border and our military sites would be both dangerous and foolish.

A designation of "Wilderness" will have no impact whatsoever on the criminals, drug runners and illegal aliens who seek refuge in remote areas.  They will continue to travel these areas and utilize them as they please.  Wilderness designations in other areas have shown that the unauthorized traffic INCREASES.  The individuals understand that they have in effect been granted a "free run" across the lands.

There are "Memos of Understanding" in place that attempt to address this issue, but most have wording that limits the access for law enforcement officials to "pursuit", and on if they determine a threat exists to human safety or national security.  The MOUs do not provide for patrol activities or any pro-active measures.  Additionally, MOUs are not binding documents.Additionally, MOUs are not binding documents.

Law enforcement officials are quick to point out their reliance on intelligence from local people in the various areas.  One rancher in southern Dona Ana County reports that between 3 and 5 vehicles a WEEK are driven up from Mexico through his ranch and then abandoned when the terrain becomes too rough or the vehicle runs out of gas. 

Sheriff Todd Garrison states that "By making this area a wilderness, it will keep the normal traffic from the area.  As you are aware, there will be very limited or no vehicular traffic allowed due to it being a wilderness.  ... I feel this has the potential to open up the area making it a well-protected border crossing spot for illegal aliens and terrorists, with them being able to cross undetected.  I have seen what has happened along the border in Arizona where it also has been turned into a wilderness area, and because of this, I, as Sheriff, had concerns for county residents."

Richard Hays, retired Chief of Air Operations for the Border Patrol, states that "...the creation of Wilderness will limit the all-important source of local intelligence.  The presence of local citizens in big open areas is very important to the Border Patrol and to the limitation of illegal traffic.  Local presence, local calls, local surveillance, and local knowledge of illegal movement are very important.  The creation of wilderness and the resulting and dramatic reduction of the accessing of such areas will reduce and or eliminate this critical source of information and intelligence.  As an American citizen and a retired ranking Border Patrol official, that is very disturbing to me."

The GAO (US Government Accountability Office) release a report on 09/27/07: "Security Vulnerabilities at Unmanned and Unmonitored U.S. Border Locations".  They state "The possibility that terrorists and criminals might exploit border vulnerabilities and enter the United States poses a serious security risk... Congress is concerned that unmanned and unmonitored areas between these ports of entry may be vulnerable. ... In unmonitored locations, CBP does not have this equipment in place and must rely on alert citizens or other information sources to meet its obligation to protect the border." 

In the summary of the GAO report, they indicate for "Federally managed lands adjacent to border", that "Investigators approached the U.S.-Mexico border", and observed "No visible law enforcement response, no observable electronic monitoring equipment, investigators observed evidence of frequent border crossings into the United States at this location."   They also state "However, our limited security assessment identified potential security vulnerabilities on federally managed lands adjacent to the U.S.–Mexico border; we did not observe monitoring or a law enforcement presence during the time our investigators visited these areas. The Department of the Interior (Interior) provided us with a memorandum of understanding between itself; the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), of which CBP is a component; and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) documenting the agreed approach to protecting federal lands along U.S. borders. Although CBP is ultimately responsible for protecting these areas, officials told us that certain legal, environmental, and cultural considerations limit options for enforcement. ... Our observations on the southern border showed a significant disparity between the large law enforcement presence on state lands in one state and what seemed to be a lack of law enforcement presence on federally managed lands."

The existing MOU is clearly not providing adequate access for law enforcement officers.  The "legal, environmental and cultural considerations" mentioned in the GAO report that have such a crippling effect on national security will only increase with federal wilderness designation. Groups which specialize in environmental and endangered species litigation put tremendous pressure on land management agencies and our Border Patrol.

There are also issues affecting White Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss, and the potential for negative impacts on military operations.  The prohibition on motorized vehicles and lack of access will cause significant problems if military personnel need to retrieve ordinance that falls within areas designated as wilderness.  Some wilderness groups claim fly-over of aircraft is damaging to wilderness.  Fly-over occurs frequently in the areas close to WSMR and Fort Bliss.  The potential for lawsuits from wilderness watch groups raises serious concerns.

Our law enforcement agencies and military have enough challenges on their hands.  As residents of Dona Ana County, we should have grave concerns about regional, state and national security if our law enforcement officials have to work under these unrealistic constraints. 

For more information on Border Wilderness issues - Wilderness On The Border - A Bad Idea 

For our chronological news archive, click here

 

   
 

LAW ENFORCEMENT, BORDER PATROL & WILDERNESS - NEWS ITEMS

Mexican Drug Trafficking (New York Times, 7/5/10)
Mexico Under Siege - It's A War (Los Angeles Times, 7/5/10)

New  3/12/2010:  Salt Lake Tribune - "Salazar to tour dangerous border area - Utah congressman calls on Interior boss to do more to help patrols." -  "Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will tour the U.S.-Mexico border Saturday at a national monument that has been deemed so dangerous more than half is closed to the public. ... DHS and the Interior and Agriculture departments signed an agreement in 2006 that allows border agents to access sensitive public lands in pursuit of immigrants or criminal suspects, but Bishop contends that those patrols still are being hampered."

New 3/12/2010:  Natural Resources Committee - "As Secretary Salazar Visits Border, Dept of Interior Must Stop Obstructing Border Patrol"

New 2/28/2010:  The Westerner - Wilderness On The Border - a collection of articles and news on border/wilderness issues.  "Al Qaeda eyes bio attack from Mexico", "Mexican Police Capture 18 Tons of Stolen Explosives Headed to U.S. Border", "Battle against Mexico's Drug Lords Could Threaten America", "Thousands of Mexicans Come to El Paso Fleeing Violence in Mexico", "270 Somalies Illegally Enter Across Mexican Border", and "Wilderness On The Border 2"

NEW 11/20/2009: Center for Immigration Studies - "Immigration and Crime - Assessing a Conflicted Issue"

NEW 02/19/2009: Washington Times article - "Wildlife areas on border let in outlaws" - "Numerous Border Patrol agents interviewed by The Washington Times said drug smugglers and human traffickers are using ecologically diverse sanctuaries to evade law enforcement officials, whose access is limited in some areas to foot patrols and horseback.  Zack Taylor, a retired agent and supervisor who spent 26 years patrolling the Texas and Arizona border, said the creation of federally protected wilderness areas threatens to keep "the agency in a reactionary mode rather than proactively tackling the increasing dangers on the border."

NEW 03/31/2008: Fox News: "FBI: Eco-Terrorism Remains No. 1 Domestic Terror Threat" - "Generally speaking, the Earth Liberation folks are motivated by a deep kind of affective connection to nature that many of them would characterize as spiritual or religious," said Bron Taylor, a professor of religion and nature at the University of Florida. "They believe that the human species is perpetrating a war on nature and that those who are connected to nature and belong to it have a right to defend themselves."

NEW 10/21/2007: Video of Fox News report by Hannity & Combs - "The Price We Pay - The Smuggler's Highway".  The Coronado National Forest is 1.7 million acres, and adjoins the Mexican border.  According to this report, "The National Forests and Parks along the southern border have turned into super highways for drug and immigrant smuggling."  Developed sites for recreation are well known to drug smugglers, and used for distribution and load out.  Drug smugglers sometimes deliberately set fires to divert enforcement officers.  Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument also shares 31 miles with the Mexican border.  It is recognized as the most dangerous National Park in the US.  Park rangers spend an average of 80-90% of their time doing law enforcement activities.  Park Ranger Kris Eggle was killed by drug smugglers in this park.  In the Coronado National Forest alone, there have been over 33,000 apprehensions of undocumented aliens to date in 2007, and 650 drug seizures totaling 182,000 pounds of processed marijuana, with a conservative value of $182 million dollars.  Officials estimate each person leaves an average of 8 pounds of trash, and they estimate there are hundreds of thousands of tons of trash in the area.

Las Cruces TEA Party Brochure on Border Security and the Krentz Murder

New 3/12/2010:  Salt Lake Tribune - " Salazar to tour dangerous border area - Utah congressman calls on Interior boss to do more to help patrols." - "Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will tour the U.S.-Mexico border Saturday at a national monument that has been deemed so dangerous more than half is closed to the public..... DHS and the Interior and Agriculture departments signed an agreement in 2006 that allows border agents to access sensitive public lands in pursuit of immigrants or criminal suspects, but Bishop contends that those patrols still are being hampered."

New 3/12/10:  Natural Resources Committee Republicans - " As Secretary Salazar Visits Border, Dept of Interior Must Stop Obstructing Border Patrol"

New 3/12/2010: The Westerner - " Wilderness on the Border - 12 More Articles on Border Violence"

New 2/28/2010:  The Westerner - Wilderness On The Border - a collection of articles and news on border/wilderness issues.  " Al Qaeda eyes bio attack from Mexico", " Mexican Police Capture 18 Tons of Stolen Explosives Headed to U.S. Border", " Battle against Mexico's Drug Lords Could Threaten America", " Thousands of Mexicans Come to El Paso Fleeing Violence in Mexico", " 270 Somalies Illegally Enter Across Mexican Border", and " Wilderness On The Border 2"

New 12/11/2009: Tuscon Weekly - " Threats and Degradation - A congressman uncovers two buried studies showing the impacts of illegal immigration, smuggling"

New 12/11/2009: Salt Lake Tribune - " Documents identify terrorism threat in border gaps"

Roger Hedgecock, San Diego KOGO radio talk show host interviews Zack Taylor, retired Border Patrol officer, on the proposed Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness designation (HR 3287 & 2593) and how it would affect fire fighting efforts and hamper the Border Patrol efforts to stop drug smuggling, human smuggling, and terrorist smuggling on our borders.

Fire Fighting Along the Border Part 1  Part 2  Part 3 (Part 3 has the most information related to illegal immigration impacts)

NEW 10/21/2007:  Video of Fox News report by Hannity & Combs - "The Price We Pay - The Smuggler's Highway".  The Coronado National Forest is 1.7 million acres, and adjoins the Mexican border.  According to this report, "The National Forests and Parks along the southern border have turned into super highways for drug and immigrant smuggling."  Developed sites for recreation are well known to drug smugglers, and used for distribution and load out.  Drug smugglers sometimes deliberately set fires to divert enforcement officers.  Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument also shares 31 miles with the Mexican border.  It is recognized as the most dangerous National Park in the US.  Park rangers spend an average of 80-90% of their time doing law enforcement activities.  Park Ranger Kris Eggle was killed by drug smugglers in this park.  In the Coronado National Forest alone, there have been over 33,000 apprehensions of undocumented aliens to date in 2007, and 650 drug seizures totaling 182,000 pounds of processed marijuana, with a conservative value of $182 million dollars.  Officials estimate each person leaves an average of 8 pounds of trash, and they estimate there are hundreds of thousands of tons of trash in the area.

US Park Ranger killed in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument - Kris Eggle lost his life in a gun fight with drug runners.

In an article titled "Law and Border", David Bemiller, the Border Patrol Tucson Sector's public-lands liaison is quoted as stating "The smuggling organizations are very aware of where the protected lands are. They're aware of where the [Border Patrol's] restrictions are, and tend to take advantage of them. They exploit the wilderness areas."  Mr. Bemiller also states "Our patrol efforts in the wilderness areas are challenging.  There are times when environmental laws and concerns are amendable to our operations, and times when they're not."

Desert Invasion - this is what we invite with wilderness designations

Washington Times article - "Wildlife areas on border let in outlaws" - "Numerous Border Patrol agents interviewed by The Washington Times said drug smugglers and human traffickers are using ecologically diverse sanctuaries to evade law enforcement officials, whose access is limited in some areas to foot patrols and horseback.  Zack Taylor, a retired agent and supervisor who spent 26 years patrolling the Texas and Arizona border, said the creation of federally protected wilderness areas threatens to keep "the agency in a reactionary mode rather than proactively tackling the increasing dangers on the border."

Border Patrol sued over installing lights in non-wilderness area:

Another suit by the Center for Biological Diversity against the Border Patrol "New Border Fence Unnecessarily Hurts Communities, Lawsuit Contends"

US Border Control article "At the border, land, wildlife, even ranch animals are the casualties"

USA Today Blog: Trashing the border

Wilderness Watch article "Desert Showdown" states that Cabeza Prieta in Arizona is "one of our most troubled Wildernesses"... with "4,000-6,000 illegal immigrants a month", and neighboring Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Wilderness estimates "300,000 illegal individuals cross in a year's time".  The also state the the flow of illegal traffic and its impacts are of "much greater significance than the limited level of legal public use".  According to the article,  in Arizona border Wilderness and other public lands "approximately 8 pounds of trash is left by each immigrant and drug runner who crosses border lands", resulting in "a staggering 2 million pounds (a conservative estimate) each year".

Department of Homeland Security report on Detention and Removal of Illegal Aliens

International Herald Tribune: "In Arizona desert, American Indian trackers vs. smugglers"

"FBI: Iraqis being smuggled across the Rio Grande"

'Arab terrorists' crossing border - Middle Eastern illegals find easy entrance into U.S. from Mexico

"Wilderness Workshop" article "Homeland Sacrifice? Helicopter training plan pits security against wilderness"

DEA briefs on El Paso and Jaurez situation

HCN News Article: "Battered borderlands: The Border Patrol trolls for a conservation ethic". 

Defenders of Wildlife group article "Leading Conservation and Human Rights Groups Oppose U.S. Border Patrol's Push for Unlimited Access to Protected Public Lands" states "While we respect the complex and dangerous mission with which the Border Patrol is entrusted, we vigorously oppose the current push for unrestricted motorized access within National Monuments, Forests, Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness areas."  Another article is titled "Illegal Immigration and Border Enforcement Activities Threaten Lands and Wildlife".

Defenders of Wildlife articles on Cabeza Prieta "Leading Conservation and Human Rights Groups Oppose U.S. Border Patrol's Push for Unlimited Access to Protected Public Lands"

Sierra Club opposes border fence "Tucson: Border Walls Put People and the Environment At Risk"

Retired Border Patrol agent writes open letter to Senator Bill Frist

This Deseret Morning News article talks about Governor Richardson's move to declare that border counties in his state face "an emergency condition with potential catastrophic consequences" because of violence, drug smuggling and other problems attributable to illegal immigration and illegal trade.

Sierra Club's Immigration Wars

"Immigration scuffles threaten wildlands along the U.S.-Mexico border"
 

 

 

 


For more information on Border Wilderness issues - Wilderness On The Border - A Bad Idea 

See News section for our complete news archive.