Recently, the Center for Biological Diversity issued a press release criticizing DHS and the Border Patrol because their plan to “triple base size on Arizona-Mexico border puts endangered wildlife, fragile Lands at risk.” While I agree with the Center that Organ Pipe National Monument and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge are some of the most scenic and impressive landscapes on our southwest border, this area is also a haven for smugglers and others illegally crossing our open borders to violate our security, our safety and our rule of law.
What the Center for Biological Diversity should also mention is that the people illegally crossing these areas are destroying the environment with their activities; the new facility is intended to reduce any activity in the area over time, thus protecting the environment as much as the country’s population. There have been and continues to be numerous documented cases of people illegally crossing our borders from other countries besides Mexico. These people use Mexico as a transit point to illegally enter our country for myriad reasons, from wanting a better life for their families to committing crimes against our society, and potentially terrorist activities.
The Center for Biological Diversity states, “The Department of Homeland Security should focus its enforcement efforts closer to the border to prevent damage to America’s public lands before it encroaches so far into the United States” referring to the Border Patrol operating 15-20 miles north of the international border. The Border Patrol has a legitimate and valid function operating in that area as part of their efforts to protect U.S. citizens and our security from illegal aliens and other cross-border criminals.
While no conscientious individual wants to see to the unnecessary destruction of pristine flora and fauna, those crossing our borders illegally for whatever reason have no such compunction. This lack of scruples is clearly demonstrated by their lack of respect for our laws, our systems and our way of life. Yet, those who don’t want to cause us harm or continue as criminals do want to become a part of our system, even if they have to violate the system to become a part of it. Therefore, these criminals have no respect for our laws, whether they are immigration laws or environmental laws.
If DHS and the Border Patrol back down to the Center for Biological Diversity on this issue, it will only encourage others wanting to illegally enter our country for whatever reason, to use these well-established and unpatrolled routes through these areas to slink into our nation for their own nefarious purposes and to the detriment of American society.
The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operations are regrettable; we all wish there was no need for the operation at all. However, until such time that the immigration situation is resolved there will be an impact on society and the environment. It is the Center for whatever’s role to protect the environment, and CBP’s role to protect our borders and thus our society. One hopes that by being mindful of the other’s concerns, CBP operations can be both effective and solicitous of our nation’s heritage.