Maria Inés Taracena
More than two dozens of people protested U.S. Sen. John McCain, and his involvement with the Oak Flat giveaway to mining company Resolution Copper and sponsorship of SB 750, outside the Tucson Electric Power headquarters, where the Republican privately met with TEP representatives on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 13.
There is going to be a community forum this evening
to discuss Sen. John McCain's border security bill, SB 750, and what it means to the Southern Arizona borderlands.
The so-called Arizona Borderland Protection and Preservation Act—which was first introduced in March, then backed off after being approved by the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and is now making a comeback with critics—would "cut unnecessary red tape and enable Border Patrol agents to have access to all federally managed land in Southwest Arizona, so they can perform their jobs effectively, keep our communities safe, and secure the border once and for all," waiving laws on all federal public land and all tribal land within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.(Read more, here
In short, if the Border Patrol feels it's necessary to build surveillance towers in the middle of Saguaro National Park, if the bill sees the light of day, they can do so without any permission or input.
Here's a statement by McCain and U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon (who sponsors a sister bill in the U.S. House) from earlier in year:
“For decades, drug cartels and human smugglers have exploited U.S. land management laws by crossing our borders illegally and harming Arizona’s national parks and protected areas. Amazingly, the laws put in place to protect these lands also prevent Border Patrol agents from doing their jobs. Currently, it is impossible for our Border Patrol agents to effectively secure the border when current land management laws prevent them from routinely patrolling large swaths of federal land. Our common-sense legislation would cut unnecessary red tape and enable Border Patrol agents to have access to all federally managed land in Southwest Arizona so they can perform their jobs effectively, keep our communities safe, and secure the border once and for all.”
The forum tonight is happening at the Alliance for Global Justice, 225 E. 26th St., at 7:30 p.m., where panelists that include U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, Dan Millis of the Sierra Club, and Cyndi Tuell of Oak Flat, will talk to us about what advocacy groups are referring to as the "latest assault on undocumented workers, climate refugees and the Sonoran Desert."