MARCH 07, 2006
A nonprofit group dedicated to protecting all native wild animals and plants has published a detailed report documenting how illegal immigrants crossing through the 350-mile Arizona-Mexico border have destroyed hundreds of acres of national forests and their habitat.
Titled On The Line: The Impacts of Immigration Policy on Wildlife and Habitat in the Arizona Borderlands, the 41-page report tells how illegal immigrants have devastated national parks by leaving mountains of trash and human waste, with recurring fires and by despoiling natural springs and vandalizing historic sites. The migrants have also created damaging illegal trails and roads that destroy sensitive and federally protected vegetation.
The manager of a seriously damaged federal park, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, said that 2 million pounds of garbage are scattered through broad valleys and desert arroyos every year. Cabeza Prieta houses 400 plant species and 300 types of wildlife, including ringtail cat, kit fox, bighorn sheep, javelina, badger, bobcat, mule deer and desert tortoise. It’s only a matter of time before their home is rendered uninhabitable.
The same applies to the other five national parks, three wildlife refuges, three national monuments, two national conservation areas and national forest located along the Arizona-Mexico border.
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