July 4, 2013
With Congress vowing to secure the nation’s borders as part of an immigration bill that proposes hiring 20,000 new Border Patrol agents, several former immigration officers say border agents have been inhibited in their efforts to patrol the Southwest border by other agencies.
The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, along with more than 50 lawmakers, argues that border security has taken a back seat to the environmental concerns of the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
“Their focus is environmental protection, not national security, and they apply their rules to other government agencies regardless of impact on other missions,” the association said in a statement. “While on paper the Border Patrol has access to the lands managed by these other agencies, in actual practice their rules denied free access on an as-needed basis.”