ð WILDERNESS ON THE BORDER - A BAD IDEA

 
 

 

Designating federal Wilderness in proximity to our international border is detrimental to our national security and undermines law enforcement activities.

As of July, 2010, more than 28,000 people have been killed in drug related violence since 2006.  We do not want create a smuggling corridor in our county that will invite this type of criminal violence to move in to our community.  Attacks on the Mexican government and civilians, including journalists, are escalating.

NAFBPO Press Release on Senators Udall and Heinrich's Assault on Border Security    (01/2014)

NAFBPO Border Presentation Video  (01/2014)

National Assoc. of Former Border Patrol Officers Letter to Senator Bingaman on S.1024

Letters Against S.1024:  National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, Dona Ana County Sheriff, Dona Ana Soil & Water Conservation District

For a concise history of the issues of the efforts to impose Wilderness designation in Dona Ana County,
read this article by Stephen L. Wilmeth:  The Battle of Dona Ana County  (NEW 11/26/12)

A Monumental Danger
Borderland Beat - Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War
Maps of the Mexico Cartels

RADIO INTERVIEWS - News New Mexico

Dr. Jerry Schickendanz and Dr. John Fowler   06/30/11
Tom Cooper and Dudley WIlliams   06/22/11
Steve Wilmeth and Joe Delk - 06/15/11
Steve Wilmeth and Gene Wood (NAFBPO) - 06/08/11
Jerry Schickendanz and Frank DuBois - 06/01/11
Steve Wilmeth Interview with Joe Dreyfuss, KJLL am 1330 Tucson, AZ  12/01/10
Dr. Jerry Schickedanz & Dr. Chris Allison  09/09/10

Frank DuBois, former NM Secretary of Ag, Deputy Assistant Secty of Interior  09/02/10
Joe Delk, Dona Ana Soil & Water Conservation District and Steve Wilmeth, Rancher  08/26/10

Gene Wood, Retired Border Patrol Sector Chief and Steve Wilmeth, Rancher  08/20/10
Tom Cooper, past Chairman of PFPOWH, 08/12/10

A SMALL SELECTION OF ARTICLES

WILMETH'S WEST by Stephen L. Wilmeth

Transfer of Public Lands Act - Lessening the Death Grip  [NEW 02/11/13]
From Restless Slumbers - Sovereignty Discovered  [NEW 02/04/13]
Border Woe: Another Drug Corridor Tragedy  [NEW 10/15/12]
InsightUSA - The New Mexico Syndrome [NEW 08/12/12]
The Case of the Butterfield Trail and Dona Ana County - The Tyranny of Government
 [NEW 07/23/12]
The Pegasus Syndrome - Dona Ana Environmentalism Train Wreck!
 [NEW 05/14/12]
The Border, The Environment & Federalism: A Proposal and A Stance
 [NEW 12/18/11]
The Dance: Leopold Chronicles
 [NEW 12/11/11]
Boothell Country: The Continuing Saga - Parallel Universes
 [NEW 11/20/11]
Sanctuaries Behind the Plan - One County Buffer - Wilderness Paradise [NEW 10/09/11]
Security or Open Borders [NEW 9/25/11]
Judges, Kings and Select Committees - Failure of Congress [NEW 8/14/11]
Border Wilderness and the National Security Threat - Wilderness is Causative [NEW 8/03/11]
The Sovereignty of the Individual - The Cornerstone [NEW 7/24/11]
The Corruption of Values - Promises Made... Promises Ignored [NEW 7/10/11]
Historic Patterns of Vegetation & Enviro Bankrolls [NEW 7/03/11]
The Federal Land Rancher: Sharecropping in the Modern World [NEW 6/26/11]
Illegals, Wallow and Horseshoes - Arizona's Undeclared War [NEW 6/19/11]
The Growing Dilemma - Scarcity of Values   [NEW 6/12/11]
Safety On The Border - S.1024 Revelations  [NEW 5/31/11]
Constitutional Drift & The Bingaman Syndrome   [NEW 5/22/11]
Reckless Leadership Strategy   [NEW 5/15/11]
Border Patrol, Land Laws, and Access Constraints   [NEW 5/09/11]
The Issue is the Truth - Border Apprehension Predictor  [NEW 4/17/11]
Progress of the Mexican Revolution - "Mira las Huellas"   [NEW 4/10/11]
Equine Logic - Wilderness Expansion - The Cast of Insatiable Appetite  [NEW 4/03/11]
The Red Globe Lesson - The Idea of Robust Horizons - Government Suppresses the Unexpected  [NEW 3/27/11]
Land and People - The Value Promise - Meritorious Possession  [NEW 3/20/11]
The Border Conflict Continues: Manipulation of a Predetermined Result   [NEW 2/14/11]
Sovereignty - Precious or Sanctimonious?   [NEW 1/30/11]
Regulation Without Representation - The Dynamic Reallocation of Western Lands  [NEW 1/24/11]

Marita Noon: Greenies War on Green Chile (News NM)

Sonoran Desert National Monument - Illegal Alien & Drug Smuggling Impact Analysis (Secure Border Intel) [NEW 04/23/12]

Federal Agents Say Environmental Laws Hamper Work (The Westerner) [NEW 10/28/11]

FBI Report: "The US Southwest Border Region Represents a Continuing Criminal Threat to the United States"  (The Westerner) [NEW 10/23/11]

Study Finds Wilderness Has Negative Economic Impact on Local Areas  (full study) (The Westerner) [NEW 10/18/11]

Dona Ana Sheriff Decries Bingaman Wilderness Bill as "Height of Folly" (The Westerner)
 [NEW 08/08/11]

Fox News: America's Third War Coverage on Border Security

A Dirty, Vicious Business - In Peck Canyon Corridor, Violent Crimes and Discovery of Body Part Occur With Disturbing Regularity  (Tucson Weekly) [NEW 6/01/11]

Stratfor Global Intelligence Report - Mexican Drug Wars, Bloodiest Year to Date [NEW 1/10/11]
Border 2010... A Year In Review (Tucson Citizen) [NEW 12/24/10]

The Danger of Congress and the Omnibus Bill - Call From The Borderland (The Westerner) [NEW 12/21/10]
Half of All Illegal Entries and Marijuana Smuggled Into U.S. in 2010 Came Through One Sector of AZ Border, Says Border Patrol (The Westerner) [NEW 12/20/10]
Law and Order on the Border (American Farm Bureau)
[NEW 12/12/10]
The BACA - Government and Environmental Collusion (The Westerner) [NEW 12/8/10]
Alejandro Garza and His Border War (The Westerner) [NEW 12/2/10]
Enviros Rule U.S. Border Policy - The Truth Emerges: Environmentalism Trumps National Security (The Westerner)  [NEW 11/21/10]
On The Border: One-sided Agency Cooperation - Agency Cooperation Where?  (The Westerner)  [NEW 11/14/10]
Interior Extorts $$ In Interagency Border Battle (The Westerner)  [NEW 11/11/10]

A Gift to the Drug Cartels: Will New Mexico Become the New Arizona?  (Center for Immigration Studies)  [NEW 10/20/10]

National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers Proposal for Comprehensive Immigration and Enforcement Report, October 3, 2010  (Specifically referring to the issue of wilderness, see Step 9, Other Matters, p.20, and Environmental Legislation, p.21)   [NEW 10/03/10]

ICE Chief Morton to Field: See No Illegal Aliens (Center for Immigration Studies)  [NEW 08/20/10]  "According to a draft policy document now being circulated among a limited group of stakeholders, ICE chief John Morton intends to prohibit not only his officers, but also local officers with 287(g) immigration authority, from busting illegal aliens who are discovered as a result of traffic violations."

Series by rancher Ed Ashurst, Apache Arizona on the Federal Observer website:

Letter from an Arizona Rancher
A Border Manifesto
A Border Manifesto #2
A Border Manifesto #3
A Border Manifesto #4

A Border Manifesto #5

Wilderness Expansion and (Unlawful) Beneficiary Use by Stephen L. Wilmeth
Wilderness: Expansion and (Lawful) Beneficiary Use by Stephen L. Wilmet
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Wilderness' Economic Revolution - Catron County by Stephen L. Wilmeth
Mysterious People with Rough Hands by Stephen L. Wilmeth
The Arizona Smuggling Corridors by David B. Ham and Stephen L. Wilmeth
The Wilderness Border and its Implications on American Security by Richard E. Hays and Stephen L. Wilmeth
Wilderness Compromises Border Security by Frank DuBois
And Then, There Were 10, But Still No Champion by Stephen L. Wilmeth  [NEW 7/26/10]
Rancher Wilderness Views Remain Unheeded - Border Security Issues Still a Significant Problem by Jerry Schikedanz
Don't Shackle Border With Wilderness Bill by Tom Cooper
The True Consequences of the Wilderness Bill by Jerry Schikedanz
Potrillo Mountains Ranching: A Woman's View of the Wilderness (Las Cruces Sun News)
  [NEW 08/04/10]
The Krentz Tragedy - Murder on the Border by Stephen L. Wilmeth

Border Patrol Veterans Speak Out (WorldNetDaily)
National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers - letter to Congressmen, Senators

Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border: Coyotes, Bears, and Trails (Video)
Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border 2: Drugs, Guns and 850 Illegal Aliens (Video)
Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border 3: A Day in the Life of a Drug Smuggler  (Video)
Gaming the Border: A Report from Cochise County, Arizona (Video)

Murdered Arizona Border Resident's Widow: "We Can't Let This Happen to Another Rancher" - (Fox News)  [NEW 7/28/10]

Enforcing Smuggling in Southern Arizona (PoliceMag.com)  [NEW 7/28/10]
Map of Cartel Related Slayings in Mexico by State
  [NEW 7/28/10]

The Border: A Dirty War

For border security news, see the M3 Report - Reports derived and translated directly from Mexican and Central American News Sources by the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO)

The Westerner regularly posts articles related to border security and Wilderness designation.  Here are links to the Westerner posts by relevant tags:

Border
Wilderness NM
Wilderness

See the news archive below for many more articles, listed in date sequence.

Our videos section has clips of several news stories related to border security and federal lands.

POSITION STATEMENTS

08/2011 Letters Against S.1024: 
Letter from Congressman Steve Pearce to Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar on S.1024
National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers
Dona Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison
Luna County Sheriff Raymond Cobos
Hidalgo Country Sheriff Saturnino Madero
Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce
Building Industry Association of Southern New Mexico
Dona Ana Soil & Water Conservation District
NMSU Southwest Border Food Safety and Defense Center
Las Cruces TEA Party Letter, and Enclosure
People for Preserving Our Western Heritage
Mesilla Valley Sportsmen's Alliance
Rio Grande Soaring Association
Luna County
Village of Hatch

Dona Ana County Organizations and Community Leaders Letter
Las Cruces Association of Realtors
Coalition Listing - over 800 strong supporting an alternative to Wilderness designation

National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers Proposal for Comprehensive Immigration Enforcement and Reform

Dona Ana County Soil & Water Conservation District Resolution Requesting Cooperating Status and Wild Lands Resolution Cover Letter  (02/15/11)

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BORDER WARS SERIES

Border Wars - National Geographic Channel

GOVERNMENT REPORTS & SOURCES ON BORDER ISSUES

GAO Report - Arizona Border Region, 11/2011

Texas Border Security - A Strategic Military Assessment, September 2011  10/10/11

NMDA Notice For Livestock Scale Inspection Requiring Law Enforcement Escorts for Inspectors South of I-10 (NMDA)  07/11/11

US CBP Intelligence Report, Vekol Valley, Table Top Wilderness, 78+ Miles N of Mexican Border

Congressional Hearing Testimony from 4/15/11
Mr. George Zachary Taylor, National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO)
Mr. Gene Wood, National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO)

Southwest Border - Border Patrol Operations on Federal Lands (GAO Report, 4/15/11)
Southwest Border - More Timely Border Patrol Access and Training Could IMprove Security Operations and Natural Resource Protection on Federal Lands (GAO Report 10/2010)

GAO: Armed Smugglers and Marijuana Growers Threaten the Safety of Americans on Federal Lands (CNS News)

Las Cruces BLM Office Borderland Safeguards handout contains the following warnings:
 

BE AWARE that you are in areas of Safety Concern.

BE CAUTIOUS... of the following:

1. High speed driving/law enforcement pursuits
2. Language barriers increase risk
3. Risk of contact with unknown personnel in vehicles or on foot
4. Radio and cell phone "dead spots"
5. Use only trained responses
6. Leaving BLM vehicles unattended
7. Vehicles found unattended
8. Biological hazards
9. Know where you are/describe your location
10. Let dispatch & law enforcement know your trip plan
11. Expect the unexpected!

INTERNATIONAL BORDER WATCHOUTS

1. No communication link with others, dispatch, and/or law enforcement
2. Working in a Law Enforcement Area of Concern
3. Armed confrontations either by law enforcement and/or illegal entrants
4. Small or large groups of people being transported either on foot or in a vehicle
5. Accidental witnessing of (large) quantities of drug deals and drug transportation
6. High Speed driving and law enforcement pursuits in your work areas
7. Aircraft trying to avoid detection and frequent law enforcement aircraft operations due to these illegal activities
8. Historical, administrative, and cultural sites that have been vandalized and broken into
9. Locks and fences deliberately knocked down or cut
10. Large amounts of footprints - these may be headed to your work area
11. Abandoned vehicles either intact or set on fire
12. Wildfires caused by abandoned warming and cooking fires
13. Individuals that appear ill
14. Trash and high concentrations of human fecal materal in heavily used illegal entrants staging areas and routes
15. Methamphetamine labs either occupied or abandoned.  Chemical dumping.
16. Marijuana field protected by growers
17. Workers alone and/or working at night
18. Leaving your BLM vehicle unattended

Arizona BLM Reports on Impacts Caused by Undocumented Aliens Crossing Federal Lands in Southeast Arizona

Arizona Border Trash - Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
Arizona BLM - Reclaiming Our Arizona Monuments
Menu of All AZ BLM Reports
FY 2009 Summary Report
FY 2009 Fact Sheet

  • Cleanup efforts include the areas within 100 miles of the border
  • 234 tons of trash, 62 vehicles, 404 bicycles, approximately 800 tires removed
  • Tohono O'odham Reservation removed over 20 tons of trash
  • AZ Game & Fish removed over 20 tons of trash
  • Cost for FY 2009 was $1,137,500
  • Photo of typical layup site

Former Border Patrol Officers - NO CONFIDENCE

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Vote of No Confidence in ICE Director and Assistant Director

"This action [vote of no confidence] reflects the growing dissatisfaction and concern amount ICE employees and Union leaders that Director John Morton and Assistant Director Phyllis Coven have abandoned the Agency's core mission of enforcing United States Immigration Laws and providing for public safety, and have instead directed their attention to campaigning for programs and policies related to amnesty and the creation of a special detention system for foreign nationals that exceeds the care and services provided to most United States citizens similarly incarcerated.  It is the desire of our union within ICE and our employees to publicaly separate ourselves from the actions of Director Morton and Assistant Director Coven and publicly state that ICE officers and employees do not support Morton or Coven, or their misguided and reckless initiatives, which could ultimately put many in America at risk. ... ICE is misleading the American public with regard to the effectiveness of criminal enforcement programs like the ICE 'Secure Communities Program'.  ... ICE has virtually no consistent national policies.  As a result, the Agency lacks adequate direction and managerial infrastructure.  Operations suffer, accountability is nonexistent, and ICE is unable to perform at its potential."

DHS 2009 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics (DHS, added 09/26/10)

FBI Series - On The Southwest Border

On The Southwest Border - Corruption, Drugs, Gangs and More  (08/02/10)
Public Corruption: A Few Bad Apples (8/9/10)
When Violence Hits Too Close To Home  (08/12/10)
FBI - Forging Ties in Tijuana  (08/16/10)
A Drug Buy in El Paso  (08/30/10)
On The Southwest Border - Going After the Major Players  (09/09/10)
On The Southwest Border - Understanding the Gang Threat  (09/23/10)
The Importance of Intelligence (10/01/10)

Border Security Operations, Texas Rangers, Center - Nuevo Lardeo Cartel Battle Tactics Analysis 07/16/10 (Warning - GRAPHIC)

GAO - Alien Smuggling - DHS Could Better Address Alien Smuggling Along the Southwest Border - GAO Report, July 22, 2010

“alien smuggling along the southwest border is an increasing threat to the security of the United States and Mexico as well as to the safety of both law enforcement and smuggled aliens.” 

“According to the National Drug Intelligence Center’s (NDIC) 2008 National Drug Threat Assessment, the southwest border region is the principal entry point for smuggled aliens from Mexico, Central America, and South America. Aliens from countries of special interest to the United States such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan (known as special-interest aliens) also illegally enter the United States through the region,

"some Mexican drug trafficking organizations specialize in smuggling special-interest aliens into the United States."

From the 2009 National Drug Intelligence Center, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis Outlook:

"Mexican DTOs [drug trafficking organizations] that traditionally smuggle drugs through the El Paso/Juárez plaza will most likely seek alternative routes to avoid confrontations with Mexican Government counterdrug forces and rival DTOs by shifting some of their smuggling activities to the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico. As a result, it is quite likely that drug-related violence in U.S. communities along the border in New Mexico will increase as law enforcement officials and rival traffickers respond to the shifts in smuggling routes."

A Line In The Sand - Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border, House Committee on Homeland Security

Department of Interior Threat Assessment

Department of Interior Safe Borderlands Initiative

National Drug Intelligence Center New Mexico High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Drug Market Analysis for 2009

New Mexico HIDTA Overview for 2009

Republicans Natural Resources Committee Overview of Securing our Border on Federal Lands

April 9, 2009 press release from the BLM - " BLM Cautions Public Regarding Border Violence" - "The international border with Mexico is becoming of increasing concern to the U.S. Government due to an increase in dangerous illegal activities and an escalating trend in border violence."

GAO (US Government Accountability Office) report, 09/27/07: "Security Vulnerabilities at Unmanned and Unmonitored U.S. Border Locations".  They state "The possibility that terrorists and criminals might exploit border vulnerabilities and enter the United States poses a serious security risk... Congress is concerned that unmanned and unmonitored areas between these ports of entry may be vulnerable. ... In unmonitored locations, CBP does not have this equipment in place and must rely on alert citizens or other information sources to meet its obligation to protect the border." 

In the summary of the above GAO report, they indicate for "Federally managed lands adjacent to border", that "Investigators approached the U.S.-Mexico border", and observed "No visible law enforcement response, no observable electronic monitoring equipment, investigators observed evidence of frequent border crossings into the United States at this location."   They also state "However, our limited security assessment identified potential security vulnerabilities on federally managed lands adjacent to the U.S.–Mexico border; we did not observe monitoring or a law enforcement presence during the time our investigators visited these areas. The Department of the Interior (Interior) provided us with a memorandum of understanding between itself; the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), of which CBP is a component; and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) documenting the agreed approach to protecting federal lands along U.S. borders. Although CBP is ultimately responsible for protecting these areas, officials told us that certain legal, environmental, and cultural considerations limit options for enforcement. ... Our observations on the southern border showed a significant disparity between the large law enforcement presence on state lands in one state and what seemed to be a lack of law enforcement presence on federally managed lands."

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services Memo on Border Law Enforcement on Refuge System Lands in the Southwest

Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge Borderland Challenges USFWS Presentation

National Park Service Border Resource Impacts presentation (large PDF)

National Park Service - The following announcement is posed on the website for the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument: "Due to an increase in illegal border activity, all backcountry areas are closed indefinitely to both hiking and overnight camping. Please check with the staff at the Kris Eggle Visitor Center for current information.   We anticipate this will be a temporary closure, though we are not certain when we can expect areas to reopen."  Note: We are uncertain of when this advisory was first posted, but it was on the above website for most of 2008, and was still on the website as of 03/29/2010.

From the Arizona Game & Fish website for Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge:  Special Note Regarding Border Issues: "Unit 36B is a corridor for the trafficking of undocumented aliens (UDAs) and drugs. Hunters will see the trails and trash left by these people. Hunters are urged to use caution when hunting and camping in 36B or any of the other border units. It is advisable to use some sort of visible anti-theft device on your vehicle, for vehicle thefts have increased the past two years. Having a group of UDAs walk through a hunting area may negatively impact your hunt. The key to hunting in the border units is the ability to flex and adapt."  See this link for closure information on the area.

BLM Southern Arizona Project to Mitigate Environmental Damages Resulting from Illegal Immigration

National Drug Intelligence Center National Methamphetamine Threat Assessment 2010

FROM THE FBI

El Paso may be the busiest city in the world in terms of the flow of drugs,” said Special Agent Mike Cordero, a member of the FBI/DEA Strike Force, an investigative team established in 2007 to target “the biggest of the big” drug trafficking organizations.

"El Paso, Texas, whose sister city in Mexico - Juarez - has become as deadly as any war zone thanks to the drug cartels."

"The cartels make billion-dollar profits trafficking drugs.  Gaining and controlling border access is critical to their operations.  They maintain that control through bribery, extortion, intimidation, and extreme violence.  Some areas on the Mexican side of the border are so violent they are reminiscent of the gangster era of Chicago in the 1930s or the heyday of the Mafia's Five Families in New York. ... In Juarez, decapitated heads of murdered cartel members have been displayed on fence posts to intimidate rivals."

"The disturbing level of violence sometimes overshadows the national security risks along the border"

"Thanks to drug money, the cartels have enormous power - and they use it to bribe, intimidate and murder."

ELECTED OFFICIALS

Congressman Bishop Discusses Border Security and Federal Lands (07/16/10)

View the video commentary from Congressman Bishop regarding the information contained in the referenced NPS presentation and DOI Threat Assessment report used in our presentation "Wilderness On The Border".

Pearce Calls Wilderness Bill Fatally Flawed

Other areas along our country's southern border have already discovered the serious impacts on law enforcement and threats to national security that result from the restrictions on areas designated as wilderness.  Dona Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison has stated "I have seen what has happened along the border in Arizona where it also has been turned into a wilderness area, and because of this, I, as Sheriff, had concerns for county residents."

QUOTES FROM BORDER PATROL OFFICERS & OTHER OFFICIALS

HR1505 Testimony - Guyant 1, Guyant 2, Leshy, Pena, Thorsen, Thrasher  (07/08/11)

National Assoc. of Former Border Patrol Officers Letter to Senator Bingaman on S.1024

Border Patrol Veterans Speak Out (WorldNetDaily)

"The presence of any wilderness on the Mexican border is a danger to the security of the United States."
Jim Switzer, National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers

"...when wilderness designations are in enforcement areas, they can substantially affect the ability to conduct necessary daily operations and limit the construction of infrastructure."
Commissioner Alan Bersin, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

"Smuggling organizations quickly learn to scout, identify, occupy and utilize unguarded border locations.  To disrupt criminal operations, Border Patrol officers must have COMPLETE access TO ALL AREAS adjacent to the border.  Border Patrol agents must have the flexibility to monitor and have a PHYSICAL PRESENCE to confront illegal activity, regardless of where it occurs along our borders.  Failure to do so gives the perpetrators the upper hand, established routes of safe passage into the U.S., and weakens the first line of defense.  The control of ANY corridor translates into the control of all illegal activity in that corridor.  Border Patrol must have access to ALL trafficking corridors, NO EXCEPTIONS.  Our borders have never been so severely tested.  The United States is at a critical crossroads regarding our sovereignty and national security. Anything that impedes the Border Patrol from actively patrolling corridors automatically enables and enhances criminal activity.  The authority vested in Border Patrol agents must be UNENCUMBERED.  Wilderness designation creates significant impediments for Border Patrol."
Buck Brandemuehl, Chief of U.S. Border Patrol (Retired), Border Security Forum, Las Cruces, May 2010 (large PDF of presentation slides)

"The current effort to create Wilderness along the border in Dona Ana County and ultimately the expansion of such activities along the extended border is dangerous and ill conceived."
Richard Hays, retired Chief of Air Operations for the Border Patrol

"The smuggling organizations are very aware of where the protected lands are. They're aware of where the [Border Patrol's] restrictions are, and tend to take advantage of them. They exploit the wilderness areas." 
David Bemiller, the Border Patrol Tucson Sector's public-lands liaison

"The purpose of this document is to bring attention to the fallacy, and danger, of efforts underway to further deny Federal Law Enforcement Officers (Border Patrol Agents), access to areas necessary to defend our southern borders by granting additional "wilderness area" designations.  Our southern border is today more vulnerable to terrorist activities than at any other time in our National history.  This is not the time to consider additional designations as 'wilderness'.  It may be appropriate at this time for our Country to repeal some previously approved wilderness designations to insure the best possible chance for success in ongoing security activities." 
Mr. Kent Lundgren, Former Chairman, National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers

"The Potrillos have ALL the characteristics for the perfect smuggling corridor.  No motorized vehicle access and no mechanized equipment is the original intent of the law and the cornerstone of Wilderness.  NO law enforcement agency can provide protection under these conditions.  Environmental idealism has trumped national security. Designating Wilderness on the border IS NOT WORKING.  Wilderness designation contribute significantly to criminal activity and environmental devastation. With appropriate support, U.S. Border Patrol agents can succeed in security our border.  WHEN our borders are secure, environmental restoration has a far greater chance of success."
Gene Wood, Retired U.S. Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent and Sector Chief (McAllen, TX and Yuma, AZ) 
Border Security Forum, Las Cruces, May 2010 (large PDF of presentation slides)

"Wilderness Areas, Wildlife Refuges, and similar federally controlled lands are the PRIME smuggling corridors into the United States.  Most federally protected lands on the U.S./Mexico border RESTRICT OR PROHIBIT normal and exigent law enforcement activities."
Zack Taylor, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent (Ret.),
Border Security Forum, Las Cruces, May 2010 (large PDF of presentation slides)

"In each wilderness debate, there has been a continued reference to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was agreed to between the Departments of Homeland Security, Interior, and Agriculture which provides for Border Patrol access to Federal lands.  That MOU spells out clearly the ability to operate on such lands including designated wilderness.  In wilderness designated areas, the Patrol has the right for entry if in pursuit, however, normal deterrent operations, including the maintenance and placement of technical surveillance equipment would require negotiations between the Agencies involved.  Considering the urgency of protecting our borders, negotiating for access which could take up to 90 days is unacceptably dangerous."  It is also important to understand that a MOU is not a binding document.
Press release prepared by the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers

"This effort to create a wilderness designation for a large portion of our southern border did not originate from citizens of New Mexico and Arizona.  It originated from the NMWA and Sky Island Alliance.  These groups share genesis and past board membership from the environmental movement, Earth First!.  The father of Earth First!, Dave Foreman., is the founder of NMWA.  It was Mr. Foreman who wrote the book “Ecodefense; A Field Guide to Monkey Wrenching.”  These are the folks who promoted the spiking of trees, the burning of high end condominiums, the destruction of new cars on parking lots, and the sinking of whaling ships."  (Note: NMWA is the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance)  They go on to state "The Tumacacori Highlands of Arizona, and the Potrillo Mountains and Broad Canyon portion of the New Mexico proposal are not just idealistic areas where “earth and its community of life are undisturbed by man”.   If they become wilderness, they will be heralded not only by those who believe wilderness designation should be made at any cost, but equally by human smugglers, drug runners, and those committed to the destruction of our country."
WILDERNESS, BORDER PATROL, AND NATIONAL SECURITY, National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers

"Today, our National Security and overall Public Safety is under constant threat of assault in the border region between the United States and Mexico.  Daily, the Americans that live in the border states and particularly those that actually live within the border region are in imminent danger due to the amount of the violent crime that is taking place on public lands.  The lawlessness that exists on public lands in the border region is an open invitation to terrorists.  The horrible face of terrorism is seen everywhere along the Mexican Border.  Illegal aliens and drugs are passing through these public lands undetected."
Thomas J. Cronin, Chairman, National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers

"Law enforcement work in the National Park Service is the most dangerous in federal service. National Park Service officers are 12 times more likely to be killed or injured as a result of an assault than FBI agents. Overall, NPS law enforcement has a morbidity rate triple that of the next worst federal agency." 
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

"Obviously, the impact of that policy [*] is severe on our operations," he said. "When you can't drive in those areas, it makes it impossible to patrol and enforce the law, and it transforms it into a sanctuary for illegal aliens."  [*] - "that policy" is referring to federal land management policies such as Wilderness, National Wildlife Refuge, etc. that hinder Border Patrol operations.  (from a Fox News report. July 2010)
T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Council, the union for Border Patrol agents

"... the criminal activities and violence of the drug trafficking organizations in Mexico is not only an international threat, it is a homeland security issue in which all Americans have a stake. ... ICE recognizes the severity of the violence and illicit activity in Cuidad Juarez."
Alonzo R. Peña, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations

"... there has been an increase in the level of drug cartel-related violence on the Mexican side of the Southwest border, particularly around Cuidad Juarez and Tijuana, and along the Nuevo-Leon-Tamaulipas-Texas border.  As I unequivocally stated then, and as I repeat now, addressing the violence in Mexico is vital to the United States interests."
John Morton, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Secretary

"We urge everyone else to take into consideration the dynamics of protecting future watershed resources without imposing such restrictions in these designated wilderness areas that the water resources cannot be used appropriately."
Gary Esslinger, Treasurer/Manager of EBID

"There are two issues that we are immediately concerned about regarding the designation of Wilderness status in our County.  The first is access to open spaces heretofore unrestricted.  The roads and points of access into the present WSA's designated bounds have become and remain immediate access for our activities.  As such, we believe they are legal right-of-ways that must be permanently and without qualification left open to access.  Secondly, the Homeland Security demands that are increasing annually have huge implications especially in the West Portrillo area of the proposal.  If access is closed to the West Potrillo WSA, we believe the only observers of the closure to mechanized access will be the drug runners and coyotes that will welcome the presence of a huge chunk of open space adjacent to the border.".
Debra Russell, President of the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Posse

"Our organization does not and cannot support the current scheme of carving out Wilderness in Dona Ana County for the stated reasons presented and pushed by advocates who knowingly or unknowingly disregard the qualification of true Wilderness designation according to our understanding of the Wilderness Act."
Dona Ana County Sheriff's Posse

U.S. Border Patrol Weekly Blotter

OTHER RESOURCES

7/11/11 The Human Tragedy of Illegal Immigration: Greater Efforts Needed to Combat Smuggling and Violence (Heritage Foundation)

Arizona Cattle Growers' Association Restore Our Border (ROB) Security Plan

The Arizona-Mexico Border: An Update (prepared for Governor Jan Brewer by the Rocky Mountain Information Network)

Photos, videos and other documentation of the Border Invasion - www.borderinvasionpics.com

The Border: A Dirty War (The Big Peace)

Fire Fighting Along the Border Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  (Part 3 has the most information related to illegal immigration impacts)

WESTERN HERITAGE ALLIANCE PRESENTATION - WILDERNESS ON THE BORDER

"Wilderness On The Border" is an audio/visual presentation that outlines information obtained from a National Park Study and a Department of Interior Threat Assessment report about the devastating impacts of designated federal Wilderness on our country's southern border. 

OTHER LEGISLATION

HR 5016 - Securing Our Border on Federal Lands.  A bill introduced: "To prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from taking action on public lands which impede border security on such lands, and for other purposes."  This would be a step in the right direction to ensure that Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies could have the necessary access to federal lands to carry out their mission.

   
 


RANCHER ROB KRENTZ MURDERED ON THE ARIZONA BORDER

3/27/10 - Cochise County Arizona Rancher Rob Krentz is murdered on his borderlands ranch.  Our deepest condolences go out to his family. 

See our news archive from 3/27/10 for daily updates on new stories related to border violence.