By Jack Minor
In a sign of the increasing power of the drug cartels in America, U.S. authorities have warned Americans not to enter sections of Federal lands near the Arizona border with Mexico. The initial report by Fox news reported that 3,500 acres of Southern Arizona was closed to U.S. citizens near the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. That report cited critic’s arguments that the Administration was giving a major portion of the Southwest back to Mexico.
Following the initial report, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a statement saying the news was based on inaccurate information. They said while portions of the refuge were in fact closed, the report that the closure extended from the border to 80 miles to the north were incorrect. “On October 6, 2006 roughly 3,500 acres, or 3 percent of the Refuge, was closed to public access due to human safety concerns. At that time there was a marked increase in violence along the border due to human and drug trafficking. The closed area extends north from the international border roughly ¾ of a mile” the statement said. They went on to say that at this time, there are no plans to reopen this portion of the refuge. However, since 2006 the area has experienced a significant decline in violent activity and they will reopen the area when it is determined to be safe for visitors.
Another border park, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, has the following warning posted on its website “Due to our proximity to the International Boundary with Mexico, some areas near the border are closed for construction and visitor safety concerns.” The warning goes on to list roads that are closed indefinitely to vehicle traffic. It also notes on another page that “visitors should be aware that drug smuggling routes pass through the park.”
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer responded to the news by condemning the Federal Government for ignoring their responsibilities. “It appears from recent media reports that some Federal agencies are warning U.S. citizens to avoid potential illegal immigration danger from visits to Federal public lands in Arizona,” said Governor Brewer. “How much more evidence of the border security crisis is necessary for the Federal Government to act on my border security proposals? Important natural recreational destinations in Arizona have been determined by Federal authorities as dangerous. This will not be resolved until our international border is secured in a sustainable fashion by the Federal Government.”
Signs erected by the Federal Government in southern Arizona back up the Governor’s claims. Recent signs posted in Pinal county state “Danger- Public Warning Travel Not Recommended”
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told Fox News that “violence has increased in the last four months” along the border and that the situation is out of control. Two Mexican Nationals, including a teen boy, have died during encounters with U.S. border guards in recent weeks.