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FOX News: U.S. Closes Park Land Along Mexico Border to Americans


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 15, 2010 -

U.S. Closes Park Land Along Mexico Border to Americans
FOX News
June 15, 2010


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Note:  To help address violence on federal lands along the border, House Republicans, led by National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Rob Bishop (UT-01), have introduced legislation (H.R. 5016) to ensure that the Department of Interior and Department of Agriculture do not prevent U.S. Border Patrol from having operational control of the border.   This commonsense bill would give Border Patrol both the authority and access to effectively monitor and protect our federal lands on the border.

For more information visit http://republicans.resourcescommittee.house.gov/border

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About 3,500 acres of southern Arizona have been closed off to U.S. citizens due to increased violence at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The closed off area includes part of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge that stretches along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told Fox News that violence against law enforcement officers and U.S. citizens has increased in the past four months, forcing officers on an 80 mile stretch of Arizona land north of the Mexico border off-limits to Americans.

The refuge had been adversely affected by the increase in drug smugglers, illegal activity and surveillance, which made it dangerous for Americans to visit.

"The situation in this zone has reached a point where continued public use of the area is not prudent," said refuge manager Mitch Ellis.

“It’s literally out of control,” said Babeu. “We stood with Senator McCain and literally demanded support for 3,000 soldiers to be deployed to Arizona to get this under control and finally secure our border with Mexico. “

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials have warned visitors in Arizona to beware of heavily armed drug smugglers and human traffickers.

“We need support from the federal government. It’s their job to secure the border and they haven’t done it,” said Babeu. “In fact, President Obama suspended the construction of the fence and it’s just simply outrageous.”

Signs have been posted warning Americans not to cross into the closed off territory south of Interstate 8. Babeu said the signs are not enough – he said Arizona needs more resources to help scale back the violence caused by the drug cartels.

“We need action. It’s shameful that we, as the most powerful nation on Earth, … can’t even secure our own border and protect our own families.”

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Contact: Jill Strait or Spencer Pederson (202) 226-2311

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