Illegal Aliens Trampling Fragile Wilderness Areas
Illegal aliens have been destroying wildlife habitats and delicate environmental areas along the southern border for years. Although not a new problem, it has reached devastating proportions as the surge, beginning last year, of illegals pouring into the Southwest has exploded. The Left, invested in this tsunami of new Democrat voters, has remained largely silent on the environmental impact of their new constituents. Below is a collection of stories and images chronicling the pollution, damage, and species depletion caused by the unchecked, human-caused disaster known as the “border crisis.”
Trampled Wilderness: Illegal Immigrants, Drug Traffickers Destroying Border Parks (Brownsville Herald, June 2002)
By JULIE WATSON
The Associated PressEL PINACATE BIOSPHERE RESERVE, Mexico Drug traffickers scar volcanic desert with illicit runways, while law enforcement officials chase them through once-tranquil parks. Thousands of migrants traipse across delicate backcountry areas sending campers fleeing to ranger stations, fearful of crowds trekking by their tents in the night.
Wilderness areas on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border are taking a beating from an onslaught of migrants, drug traffickers and law enforcement officials, a new study says. Some national treasures in both countries have been lost forever.
Few parks have taken a greater toll than the U.N.-designated biosphere reserve El Pinacate and Arizonas adjoining Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Last year, officials caught 200,000 migrants and 700,000 pounds of drugs in Organ Pipe alone.
Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, situated along its border with Mexico, has suffered irreparable harm from more than a decade of illegal aliens streaming through on their way north. Its slow-growing and fragile cacti, some hundreds of years old, are often pushed over or gouged by illegals and the coyotes and drug traffickers guiding them. Its paths are worn, strewn with filth, and the habitats of its native animal and plant species are being degraded at an alarming rate.
Public Lands Being Destroyed by Illegal Immigration
A position statement released by the Public Lands foundation on July 18, 2014 concluded:
Smuggling of controlled substances and people into the United States from Mexico has caused significant impacts to lands and resources managed by the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Tribal and State governments and private citizens along the southwest border of the United States. The impacts imperil designated Wilderness Areas, National Conservation Areas, National Monuments and other public lands. These impacts are so severe that immediate action by the Administration and Congress is required, including enactment and enforcement of a new immigration policy and allocation of sufficient resources to mitigate impacts resulting on lands within the National System of Public Lands administered by BLM.
Cabeza Prieta–the size of Rhode Island and 90 percent officially designated as wilderness–is one of three federally protected wildlife areas under assault along southwest Arizona’s border with Mexico. The 330,000-acre Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, which is 95 percent designated wilderness, abuts 30 miles of border, and Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, a former ranch covering 118,000 acres of native grassland, lies along 5.5 miles of border. All of these lands were set aside to protect desert wildlife and wilderness habitat. Cabeza and Organ Pipe are home to the Sonoran pronghorn, an endangered subspecies, and Buenos Aires was established in part to protect the endangered masked bobwhite quail.
Jaguars, Ocelots, Sonoran Pronghorns and other threatened species are now the brink of disappearing from southwestern border states due to decreased immigration enforcement and increased illegal movements northward from Mexico.
In 2006 Defenders of Wildlife released a publication titled, On the Line: The Impacts of Immigration Policy on Wildlife and Habitat in the Arizona Borderlands. In the Executive Summary of the document, it reads:
Beginning in the early 1990’s, the U.S. Border Patrol dramatically increased its immigration enforcement efforts in heavily populated border areas such as San Diego, California, and El Paso, Texas, essentially shifting undocumented immigration, drug trafficking, and other illegal activities from urban areas to more remote and less populated areas–especially the borderlands of Arizona. This has resulted in significant environmental degradation in some of the most pristine and valuable wildlife habitats in the nation.
Numerous wildfires started by illegal aliens
Each year wildfires are started intentionally as a diversion by coyotes and drug smugglers, and unintentionally by illegals camping in the deserts along the southwestern border. Senator John McCain (R) Arizona, in 2011 brought this to the attention of the country much to the displeasure of those who advocate open borders and illegal immigration. But a report from the Government Accountability Office documents the truth of Senator McCain’s assertions. It says:
Wildland fires can result from both natural and human causes. Human-caused wildland fires are of particular concern in Arizona–especially within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border because this is a primary area of entry for illegal border crossers and GAO has previously reported that illegal border crossers have been suspected of igniting wildland fires. Over half of the land in the Arizona border region is managed by the federal government–primarily by the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and four agencies within the Department of the Interior. These agencies collaborate with state, tribal, and local entities to respond to wildland fires. GAO was asked to examine, for the region, the (1) number, cause, size, and location of wildland fires from 2006 through 2010; (2) economic and environmental effects of human-caused wildland fires burning 10 or more acres; (3) extent to which illegal border crossers were the ignition source of wildland fires on federal lands; and (4) ways in which the presence of illegal border crossers has affected fire suppression activities. GAO reviewed interagency policies and procedures; analyzed wildland fire data; and interviewed federal, tribal, state, and local officials, as well as private citizens..
From 2006 through 2010, at least 2,467 wildland fires occurred in the Arizona border region. Of this number, 2,126, or about 86 percent, were caused by human activity.
The United States of America, once the world’s beneficent super power, fostered through its public lands policies and animal welfare statutes, a respect for the natural world, its inhabitants and their homes. Third world nations sometimes pay homage to wildlife and natures wonders, but the ethos of respect for nature is, for the most part, lost on impoverished, uneducated masses from socialist nations to whom survival supersedes all other considerations. It’s no wonder that illegal aliens, human traffickers and drug smugglers traversing our southern border leave in their wake environmental destruction, filth, and death.
As three decades of failed immigration enforcement culminates in the current wave of illegals from nearly eighty countries splashing into our states, the likelihood that this environmental horror can be stemmed is nil. The contemptible hypocrisy of the American Left who, on one hand uses environmental issues as a bludgeon against progress and Capitalism, will, on the other hand, turn a blind eye to the very real and irreversible loss of species, habitat, and natural features where illegal aliens, drug cartels, international terrorists, and future Democrat voters blaze super highways into the heartland of our once-sovereign nation.
For more information about the environmental impact of illegal aliens please check out the following:
by Marjorie Haun 9/2/15