Some of the devastating environmental impacts of illegal immigration through these protected areas include:
The Park Service has closed the ohono O'odham Indian Reservation, Organ Pipe National Monument, and Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge due to the "unacceptable level of risk to the public and staff" from the "high level of illegal activity going on."
- An estimated more than 2,000 tons of trash is discarded annually in Arizona's borderlands.
- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates that illegal aliens dumped more than 25 million pounds of trash in the Arizona desert between 1999 and 2005—that is almost 2,100 tons of trash each year. See report and pictures.
- The accumulation of disintegrating toilet paper, human feces, and rotting food has become a health and safety issue for residents of and visitors to some of these areas, and is threatening water supplies in some areas.
- Birds and mammals, some endangered, die when they eat or become entangled in the trash.
- In 2002 in southern Arizona, illegal aliens were suspected of having caused at least eight major wildfires that burned 68,413 acres (Illegal Immigrants Tied to Costly Wildfires Associated Press, Dateline Tucson, Arizona, September 9, 2002).
- In May of 2007, illegal aliens set at least five fires in the Coronado National Forest over a 10-day period in an effort to burn out Border Patrol agents conducting a law enforcement operation in the area (Illegals using fire to clear border. Washington Times, June 18, 2007).
Illegal Roads and Abandoned Vehicles
- By early 2004, the Chief Ranger at Organ Pipe estimated that illegal aliens and smugglers had created 300 miles of illegal roads and “thousands of miles of illegal trails."
- More than 30 abandoned vehicles are removed from Organ Pipe alone each year.
- Since its creation in 2000, more than 50 illegal roads have been created in the Ironwood Forest National Monument, and more than 600 vehicles are abandoned there each year.
- There are an estimated 20-25 abandoned vehicles in the Cabeza Prieta NWR at any given time.
- An estimated 180 miles of illegal roads were created in Cabeza Prieta between 2002 and 2006.
Declining Wildlife Populations
According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, mass illegal immigration is a likely contributing factor in the dramatic 79 percent decline in the U.S. Sonoran pronghorn population between 2000 and 2002.
These are just a few examples of the massive environmental destruction being caused by rampant illegal immigration in southern Arizona. Similar damage is being done to remote, fragile lands in California, New Mexico, and Texas.