During an oversight hearing last week, Arizona rancher and member of the Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Jim Chilton, told members of Congress that inadequate security along the border between the United States and Mexico, especially on public lands, has put ranchers and their families living near the border in constant danger.
Speaking before a joint oversight hearing of a Government and Oversight Subcommittee and a Natural Resources Subcommittee, Chilton explained that his ranch has four miles of international border with no wall and no real patrolling. He says as many as 30,000 people walk through his ranch every year to enter the U.S.
"We know that the border can be, if it is properly fenced, managed," Chilton said. "We also believe that the National Guard should be on the border and they can stop these people packing AK47s and packing drugs from getting into the United States."
Recently, U.S. Representative Rob Bishop, R-Utah introduced H.R. 1505, the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, to help improve border security on public lands. The legislation would prevent the Secretaries of the Department of Interior and the United States Department of Agriculture from impeding, prohibiting, or restricting the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to obtain operational control of the border. It gives DHS immediate access to federal lands, and allows the agency to waive certain policies preventing it from obtaining full operational control of the border.
John Falen, president of PLC, said livestock stress and weight loss, destruction of fences, broken pipelines, water pollution, hazardous chemical use and dumping and destroyed forage, are not the only damages caused by these drug operations. Drug traffickers are well armed and Falen says they use traps and aren't afraid to harm ranchers who are only trying to go about their daily business. He says the PLC hopes Congress recognizes the true lawlessness on our borders by passing this long overdue legislation.