Wildlife Gets Nod in Senate Immigration Bill

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Defenders of Wildlife Praises Protected Lands Provision, But Cautions Against Destructive Border Wall

(5/26/2006) - "Until now, wildlife and the special places it needs to survive and prosper have been forgotten in the Senate’s push to pass immigration reform legislation. Thanks to Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY), however, plants and animals and the national parks, forests and wildlife refuges along our borders have a chance of receiving some protection. Sen. Thomas led the effort on an amendment to require the Border Patrol to conduct security operations in a manner that helps protect the local environment even as they protect our borders. In doing so, he and other principled leaders like cosponsors Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) have likely helped protect some of the southwest’s natural treasures.

"Illegal immigration and associated border enforcement and construction activities have the potential to severely harm wildlife in the region and damage some of our country’s most beautiful landscapes. The amendment offered by these senators provides, for the first time, significant and meaningful direction to the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that border security efforts do not unnecessarily harm these irreplaceable lands.

"The Senate’s immigration bill is still fraught with peril for the environment. It includes massive wall-building projects in the Southwest that could devastate the ecology of the region. But the senators’ amendment offers a glimmer of hope that some of these treasures can be saved. We should not need to sacrifice our natural heritage to ensure our national security. The Senators are to be commended for their leadership in this area."

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Defenders of Wildlife is recognized as one of the nation's most progressive advocates for wildlife and its habitat. With more than 490,000 members and supporters, Defenders of Wildlife is an effective leader on endangered species issues.

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Contact(s):

William Lutz, (202) 772-0269

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