Friday, June 18, 2010
Lawmaker Warns Parks Takeover by Mexican Cartels, Illegals 'Intensifying'
Federal environmental laws are handcuffing U.S. Border Patrol agents to a foot-and-horseback strategy as they try to battle Mexican drug cartels and illegal immigrants who are turning wide swaths of America's border with Mexico into a virtual no-man's land. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, ranking Republican on the House Parks and Public Lands Subcommittee, said the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona -- part of which was closed in 2006 because it was considered too dangerous for Americans to visit -- is just the tip of the iceberg. He said there's plenty of other parkland along the border that's either closed to the public or is considered too dangerous because of concern about drug gangs, human smugglers and illegal immigrants, and that the problem is getting worse. "You travel here in America at your own risk," Bishop told FoxNews.com. The reason the parkland along the border has become so hazardous, Bishop said, is because environmental regulations restrict Border Patrol from using vehicles to patrol in those areas -- except in special circumstances. In turn, he said, drug cartels are being funneled into those swaths as immigration agents get tougher patrolling private land. "It's intensifying," Bishop said. And he said the Obama administration's plan to send National Guard troops to the border will be inhibited by the restrictions on federal land. "I don't care how many troops you send down there -- until they have access to the land, it doesn't do any good," he said...more