September 23, 2009
This morning, Senator Coburn introduced an amendment
to the 2010 fiscal year Interior Appropriations bill that would ensure no funds are used to prohibit or restrict Homeland Security from securing our nation’s borders on public lands.
40 percent of America's southern border is on Department of Interior land and Republicans in the House have raised concerns that it is currently serving as gateways for illegal aliens, smugglers, and possibly terrorists to enter the United States. In July, National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Ranking Member Rob Bishop (R-UT) offered an almost identical amendment to the House Interior Appropriations bill. Unfortunately, Democrats on the House Rules Committee blocked this amendment from being considered.
Both Rep. Bishop and House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (R-WA) have repeatedly expressed concerns about the ability of U.S. Border Patrol to effectively monitor the border on public lands and sent a letter to Secretary Napolitano in July 2009 requesting information regarding coordination between the Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service on border security issues. As of today, there has been no response to the letter.
Since Republicans in the House were blocked from offering an amendment to address border security concerns, we are pleased Senator Coburn raised the issue in the Senate