New Border Enforcement Plan Worries Enviros

An aggressive new plan to crack down on illegal immigration and smuggling over the Arizona-Mexico border will damage fragile federally protected land that serves as habitat for several endangered species, say some enviros. The Arizona Border Control Initiative, announced in March by the Department of Homeland Security, involves, among other things, the use of motorcycles and off-road vehicles by some 2,000 agents to patrol known smuggling routes. Enviros say that the DHS did not do the environmental impact studies required by law, and that patrols will destroy areas that “do not recover quickly,” according to Daniel Patterson, a desert ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. The U.S. Border Patrol counters that it is the immigrants who trample the landscape and leave piles of trash and even vehicles behind, and cite meetings with park managers about how best to protect the area. One of those managers, Roger DiRosa, summarized his conflicted feelings about the plan: “The solution [to illegal immigration] is not on the Mexican border. It’s in Washington, D.C., and Mexico City.”