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Press Release

Westerman, Moore Urge Consideration of Environmental Impact As Illegal Border Crossings Surge

  • OI Subcommittee

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Blake Moore (R-Utah) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, urging the department to address the negative impacts of illegal immigration on federally protected areas and tribal lands due to the illegal migrant surges at the Southern border. In part, the members wrote:

"Recent reporting describes significant accumulation of garbage along the Rio Grande in Texas, documenting discarded clothing, hygiene items, and plastics along a path used by migrants to cross the border. Sadly, reports like this are neither surprising nor unique. The environmental consequences of illegal immigration are well known, resulting in the endangerment of wildlife, decimation of habitats, and destruction of vegetation.

"Anticipating an increased number of migrants attempting to cross our border, encouraged by President Biden’s proposed policies, House Committee on Natural Resources (Committee)Republicans warned of the likely resulting damage to our nation’s protected borderlands. During a May 27, 2021, forum about the impacts of President Biden’s border crisis, several witnesses highlighted the negative consequences of then-record setting numbers of border crossers, including destruction of private ranchlands, degradation of sensitive environmental areas, and safety concerns, for both CBP agents and private citizens. Our concerns were affirmed and, at times, magnified by firsthand observations made on visits to the Southern border. For example, environmental damage resulting from illegal immigration was readily apparent along the Rio Grande River, where trash and rafts accumulated on the riverbank."

Read the full letter here.


On March 18, 2021,Westerman and U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) sent a letter to Mayorkas requesting information on the long-term environmental impacts stemming from President Biden's border crisis.