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Roads and border enforcement
Sierra Club Borderands Project posted this great photo blog yesterday regarding unauthorized roads on the Mexican/Arizona border. The photos are all from a flyover by our colleague Cyndi Tuell at Center for Biological Diversity. Thanks to Sierra Club and Cyndi for the great information.
While the border area in question has been closed to off-road vehicle use by the public, the impacts of vehicular border enforcement are profound, as the increasing number of border patrol agents drive hither and yon to reduce illegal immigration.
I've written about border enforcement in the Road-RIPorter recently - specifically about some of the legislation currently pending in Congress that would give the Department of Homeland Security extraordinary new powers on both the southern and northern US borders. The Sierra Club photo blog provides very real images of what happens when Homeland Security can drive wherever it wants, whenever it wants, especial in wild lands.
And hers's another perspective, jointly written by a rancher in MT and a rancher in AZ. Their great op-ed in the LA Times discusses the consequences of the proposed legislation from some of the people who will be most impacted. Here's a brief excerpt:
These bills would allow the department to run roughshod over ranching and farming operations in the area, and waivers to existing laws would remove any incentive for it to work with landowners and communities. These bills are unnecessary and would be harmful to our rural economy, to our successful collaborations with the Border Patrol and, most important, to our public and private borderlands.
My RIPorter article talks about some of the underlying reasons why such legislation may be on the table. Sierra Club's photo blog and the ranchers' op-ed illustrate the very real impacts of the aggressive border enforcement now underway in the United States.