WASHINGTON, Feb 15, 2018

Northwest Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson went before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation today to talk about his new bill, the Securing Our Borders & Wilderness Act.

The hearing, titled “The Costs of Denying Border Patrol Access: Our Environment and Security,” focused on Johnson’s new bill. According to Johnson, his new bill is aimed at combating illegal immigration and increasing border security, specifically by granting law enforcement access to a 96 mile long stretch of wilderness. The 96 mile
long “wilderness area” sits on the U.S.-Mexico border and has been closed to law enforcement, as well as the public, for some time.

In a press release, Johnson stated: “This bill comes at a time when attacks on Border Patrol agents have increased by more than 75 percent in just the last year.”

“Securing our borders is one of the most pressing issues facing our nation, because our porous border is contributing to numerous crises like the proliferation of the opioid epidemic, increased violent gang, and related drug activity, and an expansion of human trafficking,” Johnson said in a press release.

The Congressman also stated that current laws, which restrict the access of certain areas along the border to protect wilderness, hurt law enforcement’s ability to patrol “the very area they are sworn to protect.”

Johnson also said that these areas of restricted access have had a negative impact on the environment, and have created areas of “open territory” along the border. The open territory, according to Johnson, invites illegal activity, and “seriously jeopardized Border Patrol agent safety.”

“Our agents must be given every resource they need to protect themselves and the border,” Johnson said during the hearing. “I am proud to advocate on their behalf as vice chairman of the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee and look forward to passing legislation like my Securing Our Borders & Wilderness Act to ensure a safer and more secure America.”