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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Border Smorder?

The United States Congress is considering legislation that would exempt the US Border Patrol from complying with environmental laws while conducting law enforcement operations within 100 miles of the Canadian and Mexican border. Proponents of the law state it is needed because environmental law such as the wilderness act prevent the Border Patrol from conducting operations along the borders. Opponents of the law, including the Border Patrol have stated its unnecessary as agreements with agencies such as the National Park Service on operations have been worked out.
Others argue, the law is unnecessary and may be little more than an attempt to gut American authority to manage federal lands for purposes other than extractive uses. A curious exemption would prevent the Border Patrol from exercising its new powers on lands used for mining, timber harvest, and grazing. If Congress' motivation for the legislation is their concern that current law and land use stands in the way of the Border Patrol's getting the "bad guys" why the exemption for lands used for extractive uses? Moreover, Constitutional protections such as the fifth amendment also stand in the way of the Border Patrol. House republicans might better serve their supposed cause by offering an amendment to repeal select bill of rights protections.
Your thoughts?
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