LatinaLista — When the Pew Hispanic Research Center released their report last month stating that unauthorized migration from Mexico was at a standstill, many wondered if the GOP would pay attention to it.
Well, we have our answer.
Republican Rep. Rob Bishop from Utah is continuing with his bill the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act or H.R. 1505. The bill would give the Department of Homeland Security expanded powers to seize operational control of federal lands within 100 miles of the northern and southern U.S. borders.
According to the text of the bill:
The Secretary of Homeland Security shall have immediate access to any public land managed by the Federal Government (including land managed by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture) for purposes of conducting activities that assist in securing the border (including access to maintain and construct roads, construct a fence, use vehicles to patrol, and set up monitoring equipment).
In light of the Pew research, this bill is not only unnecessary but has the potential to cost U.S. taxpayers money the nation doesn’t have. Bishop says the bill is necessary to help protect the country’s borders but Latino groups see this move as nothing more than a political stunt to appease right wing extremists.
The Hispanic Institute is calling on Mitt Romney to lead the charge in denouncing the bill. In a press release issued today from the Hispanic Institute:
H.R. 1505 proposes a solution to a problem that simply does not exist. By stretching Homeland Security’s increased powers to states like Maine and Minnesota, it demonstrates that its real intent is not to bolster national security — but instead to undermine federal regulations over a host of lands and industries.
This breathtaking cynicism is obvious to Hispanics, who are angry at being portrayed as bogey-men to advance the agenda of Rep. Bishop and the Tea Party — an agenda that professes to reduce federal regulation.
Last fall, a South Texas Sierra Club Borderlands’ team member, Scott Nicol, who knows well what border residents went through when the federal government seized private property to build the fence along the Texas-Mexico border, unmasked the bill for what it really is:
Most of the laws that HR 1505 tosses aside, including the Endangered Species Act, Wilderness Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, protect the environment. But the bill also waives laws like the Farmland Policy Protection Act and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
Bishop’s bill is an expansion of the Real ID Act, a Bush era policy intended to address federal ID card standards and certain aspects of immigration law. Tucked into Real ID’s overarching language was Section 102, which gave the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive local, state and federal laws to build walls along the southern border.
The existing Real ID Act waivers have paved the way for tremendous environmental damage
But this doesn’t matter to the paranoid among us who see a terrorist or undocumented immigrant behind every brown face. It doesn’t matter to people who get an adrenalin rush from delusionally declaring the country is under attack. It doesn’t matter to people who are far less concerned about protecting the Constitutional freedoms that make our country unique than militarizing the border in the name of something that is non-existent.
It doesn’t matter to a people who are so blinded by their own prejudices that the only ones they really want to keep out are those who look different from themselves.