Rep. Bishop Leads Charge to Give U.S. Border Patrol New Tools in Battle Against Illegal Immigration
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) – a member of the House Tea Party Caucus – is leading the charge to give the U.S. Border Patrol unprecedented tools in the fight against illegal immigration, the Kansas City Star reports.
Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee’s subcommittee on forests and public lands, is the chief sponsor of the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act. The measure – part of the Republican’s 2010 “Pledge to America” – would allow the Border Patrol to bypass 36 environmental laws on federal land within a 100-mile zone along the Canadian and Mexican borders.
The Utah congressman said the legislation is needed because the Border Patrol does not have sufficient access to millions of acres of federally controlled land.
“The policies of the United States unfortunately and unwittingly make it easier for illegals to come across public lands.”
Democrats and environmental advocates strongly disagree.
Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), the ranking member on the Natural Resources Committee, called the bill shortsighted.
“Expert after expert has explained to House Republicans that waiving all environmental protections affecting the water and entire ecosystems within 100 miles of our borders is not the answer to border security challenges, but they turned a deaf ear with this misguided legislation,” Markey said.
The Natural Resources committee passed the plan on a 26-17 party-line vote earlier this month, and a vote by the full House is expected soon, though no date has been set. Similar legislation also has been introduced in the Senate.