Here’s what two years of negotiations between the Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture and Interior over restrictions on the Border Patrol have produced: Border Patrol agents are now allowed access to one additional five-mile strip of wilderness along the U.S.-Mexican border.
Five miles - along a border that’s 1,954 miles long. At this rate, the southern border won’t be fully secure until 2973 – or 962 ½ years from now.
The federal government’s failure to protect Americans from foreign drug cartels, human smugglers, and potential terrorists was echoed by Richard M. Stana, the Government Accountability Office’s director of homeland security and justice issues, who told the Senate Homeland Security Committee last month that the federal government has operational control of only 129 miles of the southern border, which presumably includes the extra five miles that took federal bureaucrats the last two years to negotiate.
“The difficulties encountered by the Border Patrol to gain operational control are not the result of poor management or lack of resources,” Gene Wood, former deputy chief patrol agent in the Tucson Sector, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Natural Resources Committee last week. “It is simply an issue of denied access” by the Interior Department - which is clearly more interested in antelope than in national security.
“Environmental policies cannot take precedent over the safety and security of all Americans and that is exactly what is occurring today,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.
Rep. Bishop has introduced a bill that would prohibit Interior from using environmental regulations to prevent the Border Patrol from doing its job.