House Judiciary Committee Chairman: Give Border Patrol Access to Border 'Monument'
On Wednesday President Obama is expected to announce that he will bypass the Senate and Congress to create a 600,000 "monument" near the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico. Republican politicians and law enforcement alike have offered sharp criticism of the monument, which in their view will impede Border Patrol efforts to keep U.S. citizens safe. On May 2, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released a statement urging Obama to give Border Patrol agents access to the land.
Border Patrol may have limited access to the sanctuary, which will be called the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. The Obama Administration will have discretion over how much access agents get to the land and if they are allowed to drive vehicles on it.
Juarez, Mexico, a dangerous city ridden with cartel activity, is right across the border from the targeted land. Critics of the new monument worry that impeding law enforcement's efforts in the area could allow violence from Juarez to enter the U.S.
Goodlatte said in his statement, obtained by Breitbart Texas, "If President Obama is going to designate half a million acres as a national monument, then he needs to make sure that the Border Patrol has access to it in order to keep Americans safe from illegal activity along our borders. Unfortunately, Obama Administration officials have so far prevented Border Patrol agents from securing the border by denying them access to federal lands under the guise of environmental preservation."
"Without law enforcement having access to federal lands, drug traffickers, human smugglers, and potentially terrorists are able to exploit yet another loophole created by the Obama Administration’s lax immigration enforcement," Goodlatte continued. "As President Obama moves forward with his decision, I urge him and his Administration to allow Border Patrol agents to do their job and gain control of our nation’s porous borders."
At this point, however, it is likely that Border Patrol's access to the monument will be limited.
"Unfortunately, documents show that the Departments of Interior and Agriculture are using environmental regulations to prevent the Border Patrol from accessing portions of the 21 million acres along the U.S.-Mexico border and over 1,000 miles of the U.S.-Canada border," Goodlatte's Press Secretary said in a statement.
Goodlatte is not the only politician to express security concerns regarding the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.
Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, chairman of the Public Lands and Environmental Regulation subcommittee on the House Natural Resources committee, blasted the plan in a letter Monday. He argued the monument's creation will allow the area to become an unfettered drug corridor.
"National Parks, monuments, and wilderness areas along our southern border have become prime drug-trafficking corridors for violent criminals and drug cartels," Bishop wrote in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. "Restrictive environmental laws within these federal corridors limit Border Patrol access and, as a result, make it easier for drug smugglers and human traffickers to move their drugs and people in and out of the United States unnoticed."
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