A bill introduced by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), H.R.324, is making its way to the House floor and a vote could come as soon as this afternoon. The bill would establish the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area, which would cover much of the Mexican border in Southern Arizona. If passed as is, the bill could jeopardize security efforts along that part of the border.
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) offered an amendment while the bill was in committee, but the amendment did not make it to the bill's final draft. The final bill will be debated on the House floor with likely a motion to recommit. If the motion passes, it will go back through the committee process. If your House Rep. is a Democrat, there is a phone note on your Action Buffet with talking points asking him/her to support the motion.
The area designated Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area includes much of the illegal entry area that reporter Leo Banks chronicled in his article "Following the Amnesty Trail".
The issue with H.R.324 is that the Border Patrol is increasingly being limited in its enforcement on various park lands. Promoters of illegal immigration inside the federal government seem to be on a trend of turning parks into sanctuaries for illegal alien traffic. The designation of this land could prevent the Border Patrol from setting up communication towers, cameras, sensors and so on, on the massive land included under the bill.
The land covers some of the primary smuggling corridors in Arizona. It also covers Highway 19, where the Border Patrol has a temporary checkpoint that is scheduled to become a permanent checkpoint--at which the BP seizes huge amounts of drugs and apprehends large numbers of illegal aliens each year--within the next year. It is entirely possible that the designation could be used to reverse that decision, especially since Rep. Grijalva is a vocal opponent of checkpoints (or any other activities that deter illegal immigration).
For the most part, Rep. Grijalva has opposed efforts to stop illegal traffic across the southern border and is a huge supporter of amnesties and other rewards for illegal immigration.
Updated: Wed, Sep 23rd 2009 @ 4:33pm EDT