Janice Kephart and Bryan Griffith, Center for Immigration Studies, July 16, 2009
WASHINGTON–Wildlife populations are increasingly threatened by illegal immigration and the alien smugglers who are cutting paths through federally protected lands. While environmental groups put out study after study detailing potential negative effects of a border fence on the environment, the story of the negative effects of not stopping illegal immigration across the Mexican border is a story that has remained untold, until now.
The Center for Immigration Studies has produced a web video using exclusive hidden camera footage. Additionally, the video includes maps used by the federal government to track illegal activity. “Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border: Coyotes, Bears, and Trails,” raises questions about environmentalists’ focus on stopping a border fence, when endangered species and vegetation have already been proven to suffer significantly where no fence exists. Abandoned vehicles, drug drops, illegal groups trekking and camping, along with the predictable human waste and immense litter left behind, have destroyed fragile Arizona ecosystems.
“Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border,” written and narrated by Janice Kephart, takes the story to a region threatened by increased illegal immigration, the Huachuca Mountains and Coronado National Forest in the southeast quadrant of Arizona. The mountainous terrain of these borderlands are seeing increasing activity right now, with drug dealers and alien smugglers–referred to as “coyotes”–and their clients using these trails to avoid the Border Patrol, which has limited access to these areas. Hidden cameras capture illegal activity as far as 10 miles north of the Mexican border, yet also capture large species such as bears, mountain lions, deer, wild pigs, and turkeys, which are experiencing the illegal activity first hand.
On a larger scale, President Obama’s immigration and environmental platforms for rule of law on our borders and a greener America remain unreconciled when it comes to the effect of the huge numbers of illegal immigrants being caught on hidden cameras trekking through public lands the federal government is responsible for controlling. These alien crossings are not legal, and they make clear that our borders are far from secure. In fact, the numbers of illegals on these trails is rising. In June 2009, 575 illegal aliens were picked up on just 14 of the hidden cameras featured in this video along 12 trials. Hundreds of these trails exist, and new ones are being cut illegally every day. And while these animals call these mountains home now, how long will these beautiful lands remain unspoiled if the border is not secured? And who is protecting this nation from those illegally trekking through them?