Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, on Wednesday called on the federal government to loosen the regulations that are providing an “invisible highway” for illegal aliens pouring over the Texas border. Unbeknownst to many Texans, a series of federally protected wildlife preserves are hindering border security efforts and providing a path into Texas on the banks of the Rio Grande.
“The Environmental Protection Agency’s negative impact on our state’s energy industry is well-documented, but Washington’s unbending devotion to a radical environmental agenda is actually preventing border security efforts,” said Creighton, who is running against Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, in the Senate District 4 election in August. “As an avid hunter and fisherman, I understand the importance of environmental protection, but the safety of our citizens and the security of our border should come first.”
Federal law severely limits the ability of any law enforcement organization from entering the wildlife refuges along the Rio Grande. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service operates three wildlife refuges in the McAllen area, including the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The latter, which traverses some 275 miles of Rio Grande riverfront, has essentially become an “immigration superhighway.”
While agents can drive along established dirt roads that mostly run parallel to the river, they can’t go off-road in pursuit of suspects. Instead, they must either drive until they can turn on another established road or follow on foot, exposing law enforcement to increased danger. River crossers including drug traffickers and transnational gang members, have taken advantage of this limitation to evade capture and continue on into Texas.
“This situation is a serious threat to the safety of our state and the security of our international border and must be fixed,” continued Creighton. “Once again, Washington is trampling our state’s Tenth Amendment rights, inflicting its misguided priorities on our state in a way that further compromises our liberty and threatens our well-being. The federal government MUST immediately suspend the wildlife refuge rules that limit law enforcement so we can get control of our border.”