El Paso.– With its spectacular cacti, picturesque views and wide –open landscapes, Arizona's Organ Cactus National Monument attracts thousands of visitors every year.
The park also draws huge numbers of undocumented immigrants, human smugglers and Mexican drug cartels who use the pristine, protected landscape to cross illegally into the United States.
The problem of immigrants and traffickers using federally protected land to move products and people over the border has set up a battle between environmentalists and some politicians. Some environmental laws, such as the Endangered Species Act, keep U.S. Border Patrol agents from driving on areas of federally protected lands.
“Much of that is wilderness or (an) endangered species habitat or conservation habitat where the Border Patrol is prohibited from doing their job,” said Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah). “They have to do everything on foot, even though there are eight thousand miles of illegal roads on our wilderness area that has been cut by drug cartels -- and they use motorized vehicles.”
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