The Government Accountability Office released a new report, stating that between 2006-2010, illegal aliens started 40% if the human-ignited wildfires along the U.S. - Mexico border. The study was carried out by the independent GAO, the investigative arm of the Congress, at the request of Senator John McCain of Arizona. The GAO investigated 77 of the reported 422 human-caused fires. Of the 77 fires investigated, federal officials concluded that 30 were ignited by illegal border crossers.
Senator McCain was the recipient of public criticism for comments he made after visiting land damaged by the Wallow Fire, the largest in Arizona's history. McCain said there was "substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally."
McCain was accused at the time of singling out illegal aliens and using them as scapegoats. While the Wallow Fire is not believed to have been caused by illegal aliens, the report gives credence to claims made by McCain and fellow Arizona lawmakers. "I hope this report is a lesson to the activists and public officials that would prefer to engage in partisan character attacks rather than help focus the discussion on the vital need secure our southern border," said Senator McCain.
For more information on the effects of illegal immigration on the environment, click here.