Serious security gaps exist on federal lands along the northern and southern U.S. border. While the goal of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Department of Agriculture is to protect our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands, internal documents have shown that DOI land managers are using environmental regulations (such as the Endangered Species Act or the National Environmental Policy Act) to hinder U.S. Border Patrol security efforts. For example, Border Patrol is often blocked access to these lands, unable to use motorized vehicles to patrol these areas, and prevented from placing electronic surveillance structures in strategic areas.
As a result, our federal lands have become a highway open to criminals, drugs smugglers, human traffickers and potentially terrorists. This has led to escalated violence and also caused severe destruction of the environment.
In the 112th Congress, Republicans introduced H.R. 1505, the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, to prohibit the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using environmental regulations to hinder U.S. Border Patrol from securing our border on federal lands, ensuring Border Patrol has operational control of our borders.
Rep. Rob Bishop Opening Statement on Securing Our Border, Joint Subcommittee Hearing (April 15, 2011)
Dangers on the U.S. Border, Feature video (August 18, 2010)
Rep. Rob Bishop Speaks on Border Security Concerns on Federal Lands, U.S. House Floor (June 17, 2010)
U.S. Closes Park Land Along Mexico Border to Americans, FOX News (June 15, 2010)
Interior Department's loophole in U.S. border Patrol on Public Lands, FOX News (April 14, 2010)