Law Enforcement, Recreation, Farming and Ranching Organizations Say Border Security Legislation is Badly Needed


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 19, 2012 - Today, the House will consider the Conservation and Economic Growth Act, a package of fourteen Natural Resources Committee bills that will create new American jobs, grow the economy, and protect the environment.

Title XIV of the package will include H.R. 1505, the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, legislation that enhances border security by ensuring that Border Patrol has access to federal lands along the border and is not prohibited from doing its job due to bureaucratic red tape. National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) will offer an amendment that includes revisions to strengthen private property rights, protect sportsmen and recreational enthusiasts’ access to public lands, and protect tribal sovereignty along the border.

Some of the most dangerous areas along the southern border are the 20.7 million acres of Department of the Interior (DOI) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land where federal land managers are using environmental regulations to block Border Patrol access. Border Patrol agents are consistently unable to use motorized vehicles to patrol these areas or place electronic surveillance structures in strategic areas. As a result, our federal lands have become a highway open to criminals, drug smugglers, human traffickers and potentially terrorists, which has led to escalated violence and environmental destruction.

Title XIV is supported by multiple law enforcement organizations because they believe it will give officers and agents the tools they need to properly secure the border on federal lands and protect our country. The bill enjoys support from the farming and ranching community because it will improve dangerous working conditions for ranchers who work on trails near the border, result in less disruption to cross-border commerce, and reduce damage to natural resources. The bill is also supported by multiple recreation organizations because it will result in safer conditions for off-highway vehicle users and other recreational enthusiasts who regularly ride on trails along the border.

What They’re Saying:

National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers

“This bill is brilliant in its simplicity and is written in such a manner that anyone can understand that its purpose is to send a resounding message that the people of the United States are serious about establishing complete border security.”

National Border Patrol Council

“On behalf of the National Border Patrol Council which represents 17,000 Border Patrol Agents, we strongly support passage of H.R. 1505. For years, the federal government has used environmental regulations to block access for our Border Patrol agents to the over 20 million acres of federal land along the U.S./Mexican Border. This lack of access has resulted in an increase in criminal activities such as drug smuggling and human trafficking. It has also handicapped and endangered the Border Patrol Agents who are expected to secure these areas day in and day out. H.R. 1505 will give our Agents the tools they need to properly secure the border and protect themselves from criminals intent on doing harm.”

Local 2544 of the National Border Patrol Council- Tucson, Arizona

“On behalf of the National Border Patrol Council Local 1544, which represents over 3,200 Border Patrol Agents in Tucson, Arizona Border Patrol Sector, we strongly support passage of H.R. 1505, the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act.”

National Association of Police Organizations

“On behalf of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), representing 241,000 rank-and-file police officers from across the United States, I would like to advise you of our support for the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act (H.R. 1505). NAPO supports the efforts to enhance border security on federal lands thus making enforcement easier for agents. Currently, Border Patrol Agents are unable to access portions of the 20.7 million acres along our Southern borders and 1,000 miles of our Northern borders. H.R. 1505 allows authorization to the Secretary of Homeland Security to have access to any public lands managed by the Federal Government for the purpose of securing the border.”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

“Cattlemen and their families and indeed all Americans living along the border live with the constant threat of danger. That threat is exacerbated by the misguided implementation of environmental regulations that hamstring US border patrol agents to effectively do their jobs. Dangerous and aggressive drug and human traffickers coming across the border are usually armed and aren’t afraid to harm ranchers who are only trying to go about their daily business. This bill would allow for the access and surveillance equipment border patrol agents need to protect these lands and our members. We thank Congressman Bishop for taking a stand on the side of America’s ranchers and on the side of America’s security.”

Public Lands Council

“Our members along the southern border are suffering huge losses, including livestock weight loss, constant fence and waterline repairs, manmade fires that damage forage and infrastructure, and general harm to the range and the resources public lands ranchers manage. This isn’t just costing our industry millions; it’s costing lives. Congressman Bishop should be commended for leading the charge in the House to ensure our nation’s border patrol is able to secure the border at the border. Public lands ranchers stand ready to help ensure this legislation becomes the law of the land.”

Motorcycle Industry Council

“An unsecured border that allows terrorists or other law-breakers to roam our public lands represents a real threat to riders who wish to responsibly recreate near these lands. H.R. 1505 would ensure that the Border Patrol has the necessary tools to secure our border and to help ensure the safety of riders.”

Americans for Responsible Recreational Access, BlueRibbon Coalition, Motorcycle Industry Cycle, Off-Road Business Association, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, Specialty Equipment Market Association, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, United Four Wheel Drive Association

“Certain specially designated federal lands along our Nation’s border have become unsafe for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts and other recreationists to visit as a result of illegal drug smuggling, human trafficking and other dangerous activities… We believe that Americans should expect more and deserve to have the opportunity to safely recreate on public lands without fear of encountering dangerous criminal activity. Posting warning signs is not enough. H.R. 1505 would provide border security experts with the tools to protect responsible recreationists and other visitors to public lands.”

Organizations Supporting H.R. 1505:

American Sheep Industry Association
Americans for Responsible Recreational Access
Arizona Cattle Grower’s Association
Association of National Grasslands
BlueRibbon Coalition
California Cattlemen’s Association
Federation for American Immigration Reform
Local 2544 of the National Border Patrol Council- Tucson, Arizona
Montana Association of State Grazing Districts
Montana Public Lands Council
Montana Stockgrowers Association
Montana Wool Growers Association
Motorcycle Industry Council
National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers
National Association of Police Organizations
National Border Patrol Council
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
North Dakota Stockmen’s Association
Numbers USA
Off-Road Business Association
Public Lands Council
Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
Save the Trails
Specialty Equipment Market Association
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
Stewards of the Sequoia
United Four Wheel Drive Associations

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Contact: Jill Strait, Spencer Pederson or Crystal Feldman 202-226-9019

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