On Thursday, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation held a hearing titled “The Costs of Denying Border Patrol Access: Our Environment and Security.”
The Securing Our Borders & Wilderness Act, introduced by Subcommittee Vice Chairman Mike Johnson (LA-04), was a focus of the hearing. The bill enhances national security and combats illegal immigration by restoring law enforcement access to nearly 96 linear miles along the U.S.-Mexico border currently designated as “wilderness” areas. This bill comes at a time when attacks on Border Patrol agents have increased by more than 75 percent in just the last year.
Rep. Johnson released the following statement:
“Securing our borders is one of the most pressing issues facing our nation, because our porous border is contributing to numerous crises like the proliferation of the opioid epidemic, increased violent gang and related drug activity, and an expansion of human trafficking. In spite of this, laws put in place with the intention of protecting wildlife and land along the border have barred law enforcement from accessing the very area they are sworn to protect. Ironically, these laws have actually increased damage to the lands along the border, left large swaths of territory open and vulnerable to illegal activity, and seriously jeopardized Border Patrol agent safety.
“Our agents must be given every resource they need to protect themselves and the border. I am proud to advocate on their behalf as vice chairman of the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee and look forward to passing legislation like my Securing Our Borders & Wilderness Act to ensure a safer and more secure America.”
Johnson’s opening statement can be viewed here, and his questioning of the witnesses can be found here.