Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Arizona rancher urges Congress to improve border security

Jim Chilton, Arizona rancher and member of the Public Lands Council (PLC) and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), told members of Congress during an oversight hearing held jointly by the Government and Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations and the Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands that inadequate security along the border between the United States and Mexico, especially on public lands, has put ranchers and their families living near the border in constant danger. “We have been burglarized twice. Many of our neighbors have suffered similar loss of security and property. Our losses have been great and our sense of security in our own country has been severely damaged,” Chilton said. “The Border Patrol must control the border at the border so that citizens’ civil rights, property rights and human rights are protected. Ranchers along the border cannot have peace of mind until the border is secured.” Chilton said environmental laws, including the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), have “unduly hampered” the ability of U.S. Border Patrol agents to control the border. He said he and many other ranchers have had challenges with federal land managers causing serious delays for the border patrol. According to Chilton, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) two mile wide and 50 mile long San Pedro National Conservation Area excludes any mechanical entry or exit resulting in a drug trafficker’s “dream path to enter Arizona and walk unhindered and hide in heavy vegetation for 50 miles. The only way the Border Patrol can patrol that contraband highway is on foot or horseback."...more

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