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This legislation will turn 26 million acres of land, the same size of all of New England, or 16 States, that are now in the Western part of the United States into vast tracks that will be walled off from almost all human use to the United States except illegals. And here is the reason I say that.
This bill is nothing more than another land grab by the Federal Government to restrict land use in America. Under current law, the Border Patrol is prohibited from patrolling these areas in the West and the Southwest. Remember, we are talking about the size of New England. And they are prohibited from doing so because of current law. And this measure will make it actually worse. All in the name of protecting the environment, we are going to restrict land use by our Border Patrol and American citizens.
Here is part of the problem that is already occurring on current land that we are trying to protect the environment from. This is a place called "Amnesty Highway" in Arizona where illegals come through the United States in an area where the Border Patrol cannot patrol with their vehicles. They are dumping all kinds of garbage and then moving into the vastness of the United States. This bill should be called the ``Illegal Immigrants Paradise Land Act'' because the area in question under this act will be a safe haven for illegal immigrants. In fact, just 2 months ago in the Tucson Weekly, it reported rampant illegal immigrant activity in Arizona's Ironwood Forest National Monument, that is this area right here, an estimated 180,000-acre preserve managed already by the Federal Government. People in Arizona call this the "Amnesty Trail," the "Amnesty Highway." The article reports that probably hundreds of illegals a week make it into the Ironwood area because of the "Amnesty Trail." Areas that were once pristine wilderness now resemble dump yards because of the illegals already coming into this area. This bill will make this problem worse. In Arizona's Ironwood National Monument, 2 tons of trash left by illegal immigrants is removed every week. Trash like this that we see.
Federal land management officials can't even do their job now, and they want to restrict use of this land to Americans. In fact, for several weeks last year, Land Management officials did not even enter this area because three people were found executed. Supposedly they were illegals coming into the United States, maybe drug dealers.
So why doesn't the government do something about this problem and resolve this problem before we restrict the use of land in America to Americans? Almost all the lands included under current law have prohibitions against Border Patrol and law enforcement officials performing regular patrols by vehicles. And as I said, this bill will make the problem worse.
This other photograph is on the same trail, the "Amnesty Trail." It is not a very good photograph, but it is taken with a telephoto lens. It shows a vehicle bringing in approximately 40 to 50 people in a pickup truck coming from south of the border into the United States, presumably illegals, traveling the highway that the Border Patrol is not even allowed to travel with their vehicles.
So it is important that we, for several reasons, don't pass this legislation. You know, the Border Patrol cannot protect the land, so the smugglers and the illegals have a sanctuary area in our national landscape. So much for protecting the environment. What we don't hear is that the Ironwood National Forest Monument is part of the largest human trafficking corridor in the world. Even government officials now acknowledge that there is a human trafficking problem in this area. They admit that smugglers are bringing people further north every year, giving them drugs and then abandoning them on this monument land where many of them die of starvation. So naturally, this is where all the drug runners and human traffickers go into the Arizona area.
What our government ought to be doing is opening up these lands to our law enforcement, so they can protect our Nation rather than putting another layer of Federal bureaucracy on these lands, which is what this legislation does. This bill does nothing to protect our lands, but makes our lands more susceptible to the land invasion by coyotes and drug smugglers.
There is a border crisis occurring on Federal land, and this bill ought to address that issue instead of making this bad situation worse.
And that's just the way it is.
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