On Tuesday, June 19, the U.S. House passed a controversial measure giving the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection unprecedented access to federal lands along the U.S. border. The new law waives 37 federal laws in order to give unrestricted access to border patrol officers within 100 miles of the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada.
The White House released a statement to oppose the waiver of 37 federal laws because it “thwart successful efforts by agencies to collaborate on border security” and presents “a false choice between natural resources protection and the economy or national security,” the White House said in a statement.
In response, a coalition of over 50 Hispanic and immigration advocates as well as Native American tribal organizations, businesses, and conservation groups sent a letter to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives to strongly oppose the bill.
The text of the letter says:
“Latino and immigration reform groups recognize this attack as an exploitation of anti-immigrant sentiments to further erode the environmental protections enjoyed by all Americans on the northern and southern borders. Native American Tribes view the bill as a direct and profound threat to tribal sovereignty, including protection of sacred places and cultural artifacts. Ranchers, business owners, hunters and conservation groups don’t want the bill, and environmentalists see the bill as an overwhelming threat to air, water, and wildlife.”