Natural Resources

Fall 2011 Natural Resources Law Class at UB

Environmental law in Immigration issues November 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — joycelancen @ 11:44 pm

I thought the following New York Times article was interesting because it is a mix of environmental and immigration law issues and both subject areas appeal to me.

Congress has recently drafted a proposal to give border control agents authority over environmental laws in protected areas. This would allow Border Control to bypass several environmental laws including the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act in areas of the nation’s most protected wilderness that falls within the 100-mile border zone with both Mexico and Canada.

Proponents of the new measures argue that it is needed where border agents have difficulty dealing with environmental rules. Critics argue that the new approach may not be worth potentially damaging wilderness areas that have long been protected. One of the states in the debate, is Montana, because much of the state’s border with Canada is on federal land. This also became a top issue in the Senate race between Representative Denny Rehberg and Senator Tester. Tester argues that environmental rules should not get in the way of border protection. Critics are not sure how the Border Control would end up using their new authority. But some of what has been suggested are building new roads, keeping current roads open, establishing bases or using motorized equipment in the backcountry of the national parks to support border protection.

Critics wonder if the border threat really calls for these new measures. There has especially been more skepticism on the northern border with Canada, as opposed to Mexico where illegal activity is a routine problem. There has been inadequate evidence that human traffickers and the like, are using the wilderness reaches of Montana, Idaho, and Washington. Superintendent of the North Cascades National Park in Washington, believes the current laws do the job since the geography of the state works to Washington’s advantage since it is mostly rugged terrain and very difficult to navigate.

No one remembers the last time an illegal immigrant hiked into the remote wilderness of Glacier National Park in Montana. The article states that 14 years ago, however, a would-be terrorist, Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, was found by park rangers as he tried to sneak into the United States through North Cascades National Park. Mezer was found with a pipe bomb, at another time in New York and was then arrested by immigration officials after refusing orders to leave the country.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s