Over 800 miles of the southwest border and over 1,000 miles of the northern border consist of national forests and parks and other federal lands.
The 112th Congress has held hearings on challenges associated with immigration enforcement on federal lands.
Historically, these challenges have included jurisdictional conflicts between the border patrol and agencies within the Departments of the Interior (DOI) and Agriculture (USDA) that are responsible for law enforcement on federal borderlands,and lawsuits filed under environmental laws and regulations that have blocked or delayed fence construction.
Administration officials report that recent memoranda of agreement among DHS, DOI, and USDA have led to greater cooperation with respect to immigration enforcement on federal lands, and legislation passed between 1996 and 2006 gave DHS broad authority to waive environmental statutes and other requirements that might otherwise delay construction.
Nonetheless, a recent GAO report recommended that additional steps be taken to improve information sharing and interagency communication.
And legislation has been introduced in the 112th Congress that would waive application of certain environmental laws to border enforcement activities on lands within 100 miles of the border and would allow DHS to conduct certain security activities on federal lands without permission from DOI or USDA, including routine motorized patrols and deployment of temporary tactical infrastructure.
The House Committee recommended $500 million for Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology— $74 million below the FY2011 level and $28 million below the Administration’s request; see House Committee on Appropriations Report on H.R. 2017, pp. 41-43. H.R. 2017, as passed by the House, would provide $500 million for these purposes.
The Senate Committee recommended $400 million for Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology; see Senate Committee on Appropriations Report on H.R. 2017, pp. 43-44.
See. Waivers of Inadmissibility http://www.simonebertollini1.com/Immigration/Waivers.aspx
See, for example, Border Security Enforcement Act of 2011 (H.R. 1507/S. 803), SAVE Act (H.R. 2000). 15 Testimony of U.S. Customs and Border
Protection Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher, U.S. Congress, House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, hearing, 112th Cong., 1st sess., March 16, 2011.
See, for example, Unlawful Border Entry Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 1091) and Border Security Enforcement Act (H.R. 1507/S. 803).
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations, The Border: Are Environmental Laws and Regulation Impeding Security and Harming the Environment?, hearing, 112th Cong., 1st sess., April 15, 2011.
See, for example, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Border Security: Additional Actions Needed to Better Ensure a Coordinated Federal Response to Illegal Activity on Federal Lands, GAO-11-177, November 2010, http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11177.pdf.
Testimony of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Chief Ronald