Thursday, May 29, 2014



Boehner Says Obama Monument Designation Undermines Border Security
By: Anthony Kimery, Executive Editor
05/22/2014 ( 1:43pm)

President Obama's designated this week of a new national monument area in New Mexico failed to include important additional protections for border security, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement.

"For many months I have warned that the president's fondness for unilateral action has created widespread doubt among the American people that he and his administration can be counted on to enforce any law he signs, particularly when it comes to securing our nation's borders and reforming our immigration system," Boehner said.

"The president's announcement today intensifies those concerns, demonstrating a level of audacity that is remarkable even for this administration," Boehner declared. "Once again, the president has chosen to bypass the legislative branch -- and, in this case, do so in a manner that adds yet another challenge in our ongoing efforts to secure our Southern border. At a time of continued cartel violence in Mexico, we should not be putting any additional restraints on efforts to protect our borders.

Boehner said "What's particularly disappointing is that even Senate Democrats recognized the need for additional border security protections, including them in their own legislation on this issue. Yet the president and his administration have chosen to ignore those efforts, and the concerns that its new restrictions will place additional burdens on Border Patrol personnel and limit access to high crime areas along the border, making it easier for drug smugglers and human traffickers to move in and out of the country."

Boehner said the president's designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument "will also limit access to these areas by local law enforcement who are vital to our efforts to prevent crime and counter drug activity in our border regions. The president should fix this immediately and make sure that federal and local officials have the access and tools they need to secure our borders and address the violent crime that has become all too commonplace along our Southern border."

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument comprises 500,000 acres in southern New Mexico near the US-Mexico border, half of which will be set aside as "wilderness."

The designation has ignited heated debate among supporters of the designation and opponents who say environmental and other regulations that come with the designation will prevent Border Patrol from conducting border enforcement operations within the Organ Mountains area.

As Homeland Security Today reported earlier this week, Board Patrol said "This designation will in no way limit our ability to perform our important border security mission, and in fact provides important flexibility as we work to meet this ongoing priority."

Peter Ossorio, a retired Army Officer and Assistant US Attorney that prosecuted drug smugglers in southern New Mexico, said in a statement Tuesday that, "If the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks were an attractive area for illegal border crossing or smuggling, those activities would already be going on. But with current Border Patrol measures in place, this area is nearly impenetrable."

"Instead of being scared off by baseless claims about border security, I am delighted that President Obama has protected these public lands, which will benefit our quality of life, our economy, and future generations," Ossorio said.

Boehner said legislation introduced by New Mexico's two Democratic Senators to create this national monument originally included specific border security protections to ensure Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies have adequate access the southwest border to do their job. In the House, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) introduced similar legislation, though smaller in scope and size, that enjoyed significant support in large part because it focused on the most environmentally-sensitive areas, took into account state and local concerns and included additional border protection.

But, Boehner stressed, "The president's announcement today does not include similar protections."

"Drug smuggling and criminal activity are known challenges in this area and the designation could put the nation's border security at risk," Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), said Wednesday. "This is an issue that deserves careful examination. Time and again we have seen examples of where restrictive federal land management policies have created security risks including lawless corridors where criminals roam outside of law enforcement's reach."

"If President Obama is going to designate half a million acres as a national monument, then he needs to make sure that the Border Patrol has access to it in order to keep Americans safe from illegal activity along our borders," House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Tuesday. "Unfortunately, Obama administration officials have so far prevented Border Patrol agents from securing the border by denying them access to federal lands under the guise of environmental preservation."

Goodlatte said that, "Without law enforcement having access to federal lands, drug traffickers, human smugglers and potentially terrorists are able to exploit yet another loophole created by the Obama administration's lax immigration enforcement. As President Obama moves forward with his decision, I urge him and his administration to allow Border Patrol agents to do their job and gain control of our nation's porous borders."

Goodlatte is an original cosponsor of the SAFE Act and National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, both of which would prohibit the Departments of Interior and Agriculture from preventing Border Patrol agents access to federal lands within 100 miles of the border. The legislation would also prohibit the interference of Border Patrol activities, such as construction and maintenance of roads and barriers, use of patrol vehicles and deployment of tactical infrastructure. The SAFE Act was approved by the House Judiciary Committee last year.

Meanwhile, however, the Department of Homeland Security and New Mexico law enforcement authorities said Border Patrol activities are allowed and unaffected by a monument designation.

Nevertheless, some Border Patrol agents, CBP officers and Southwest border law enforcement officials in recent years have complained that border enforcement activities have been impeded on federal lands by a variety of regulations and environmental concerns.


by KRISTIN TATE 20 May 2014

On Wednesday the Obama Administration is set to unilaterally designate a 600,000 acre national monument in New Mexico near the U.S.-Mexican border. The sanctuary, which will be called the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, has drawn sharp criticism from law enforcement who say it will impede border security. "By creating this monument, President Obama is ensuring a pathway to get drugs into the country" Zack Taylor, Chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, told Breitbart Texas.
The Obama Administration will ultimately control how much access Border Patrol agents will have to the land, including whether or not they will be able to use vehicles.
Taylor, who has 26 years of border security experience, pointed out that one of the most dangerous cities in the world, Juarez, Mexico, is right across the New Mexico border. Impeding law enforcement near this section of the border could allow Juarez's cartels and violence to enter the U.S. with ease.
"This is the wrong place to put a monument," Taylor said. "The New Mexico border has no river--it's just an imaginary line. If criminal illegal aliens can walk across the border and into the sanctuary area, they will use that land for criminal acitivy and use it extensively. Everything surrounding the monument is in peril."
Advocates of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument claim the land needs to be preserved for environmental reasons. But opponents claim this argument is a deflection from the real issue, which is the safety of U.S. citizens.
"Who benefits form this more than the cartels?" Taylor asked. "The people who live there don't benefit, law enforcement doesn't benefit, the sheriffs don't benefit. The only people who benefit from this monument are illegal illegal immigrants brining drugs into this country. Environmentalists say we're protecting this land by shutting people out, but we're actually doing the opposite."
Obama is creating the monument without approval from the Senate or Congress by using the Antiquities Act, a means by which presidents can unilaterally lock up land for environmental reasons.
Taylor concluded, "The Obama Administration is using 'environmental concerns' as a tool to bypass Congress and take over the land. By doing so, he is completely ignoring national security and public safety."


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