Trump Interior Dept reverses Obama policy: Cooperates in border enforcement, will surge for caravans
If you want to know why there has been a manufactured drumbeat of innuendo and rumor about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke over the last several weeks, a good place to start is with the change in policy on his watch regarding immigration and security enforcement in Interior-administered borderlands.
There has been almost no media coverage of this development. However, the Washington Examiner carried a brief article by John Siciliano on the topic on Friday, 9 November. The article contained an eye-opening nugget:
[A] new Interior report show[ed] the department’s law enforcement arm recently increased arrests of illegal immigrants by almost 4,000 percent.
Read a little bit further, and sure enough, it turns out the report refers to enforcement in the extensive federally-administered public lands along the U.S. border, mostly in New Mexico and Arizona.
There is no doubt that this is true. I wrote about it
in April 2015, back when Judicial Watch was tracking information on an ISIS training camp located directly adjacent to the southern border of New Mexico (literally, a few hundred yards from it).
Judicial Watch’s concern was primarily with the camp’s proximity to El Paso, Texas, a major urban center and location of key military bases. That concern was quite valid, but there was also plenty of evidence that the camp was situated where it was because jihadis were exploiting the poor border enforcement in the area – the result of Interior’s agencies withholding cooperation from the Border Patrol.
In fact, a “known wolf” jihadi cell whose activities had ranged as far as Chicago was connected to a tiny town in southeast New Mexico – Anthony – whose main attraction was that access to it would be convenient if facilitated through the nearby, designated “wilderness” lands administered by the Department of the Interior.