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Stop the Fed Land Grab
Timely warning of police-state intrusion inland
Courtesy Bill McNally

Land GrabThe National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, H.R. 1505, is an extensive land-grabbing bill by the federal government in the name of “national security.” The proposal gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and specifically the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, which is under the DHS, authority over a 100-mile inland swath of land across the northern and southern borders of the United States “for purposes that assist in securing the border (including access to maintain and construct roads, construct a fence, use vehicles to patrol, and set up monitoring equipment).”

This bill waives some 36 laws currently in place for lands managed by the USDA and the Department of the Interior, some environmental, some farmland preservation, others that cover Native American Indian lands, monuments, etc., while giving sweeping powers to the DHS and Border Patrol to exercise “operational control” on the specified lands. A decades-old law that allows the courts to review executive branch agencies’ activities would also be waived; DHS and CBP’s activities would be unaccountable and untouchable.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) who introduced the bill insists that environmental laws are getting in the way of the Border Patrol’s ability to do its job. The Government Accountability Office did a year-long study to determine whether or not  land management laws were hampering the Border Patrol. The findings showed that 22 out of 26 border patrol stations reported  “the overall security status of their jurisdiction is not affected by land management laws. Instead, factors such as the remoteness and ruggedness of the terrain have the greatest effect on their ability to achieve operational control."

It needs to be noted that in March of 2006, an agreement was signed between the DHS, Department of the Interior and the USDA that already gives the Border Patrol access to public lands, either when they request it OR when they are in hot pursuit of suspected illegals, terrorists, drug smugglers, or for search and rescue missions.

The signed memo -- Cooperative National Security and Counterterrorism Efforts on Federal Lands Along the United States’ Borders -- gives the Border Patrol all the tools they need to keep the borders safe, including access to all the public lands currently managed by the USDA and the DoI, the ability to erect surveillance equipment, sensors, cameras etc. Conflicts between the three are supposed to be settled at the lowest authority level possible, while allowing CBP to protect the border. Everything that is contained in the mutual agreement is also in the proposed legislation, but the legislation goes much further.

Centralizing this kind of unilateral power in the hands of armed government agents should be frightening. Furthermore, imagine the kinds of activities that could be restricted or eliminated on public lands in the name of national security: timber harvesting, livestock grazing, hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, oil and gas exploration and drilling, etc. All of this could happen under such a broad bill, and one that is completely unnecessary.

If Congress and the DHS were serious about patrolling the borders, they could put into effect some serious efforts AT THE BORDER, not up to 100 miles inland. Concern for real national security, individual state sovereignty, and protection of private property should inspire us to contact our Senators and Representative and get them to oppose H.R. 1505, the latest federal land grab.

2011 December 05
Posted by The Coffee Coaster™ Copyright John Birch Society
HR 1505 | Real ID | Civil Liberties | US Constitution | John Birch Society

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