The decision by President Barack Obama on Wednesday to declare 500,000 acres of land on the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico a national monument will only help the drug cartels, says Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah.
"This opens up a whole new avenue for greater ability for cartels to do their drug smuggling and their human trafficking in this area," Bishop told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.
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Because it would be a national monument, the U.S. Border Patrol would not have full access to the land
when pursuing drug smugglers.
Republican Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico said that only about 50,000 acres should have been included in the monument preserve, calling it a "land grab" by the president.
It will also change the rules for ranchers with cattle that graze in the area.
"Those who are living down there, who are ranching in that area, are concerned because having a monument declared changes what can be done with the land," Bishop explained Wednesday.
"People who have grazing rights . . . on federal property can have those changed by the federal government at whim, and they have no recourse, even though it affects their bottom line," he added.
The president has the right to declare land a monument under the Antiquities Act, which was passed about a hundred years ago and was likely used by "early presidents . . . to preserve land," Bishop explained.
"The most recent presidents since the Carter administration have abused this act to make political statements, to try and do things at the spur of the moment and catch people off guard," he added.
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