WASHINGTON – Congressman Lance Gooden (R-TX) introduced legislation Wednesday to cut through bureaucratic red tape preventing the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from properly executing their mission and securing the border of the United States.

Specifically, the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act would enhance security by ensuring the CBP has access to federal lands along the border and is not hindered by bureaucratic or politically motivated red tape disguised as environmental protection. Additionally, the legislation would allow the CBP to legitimately protect the environment by preventing environmental degradation caused by criminal cartels. Lastly, the legislation would promote and protect legal land use, such as farming, ranging, and recreational hunting along our southern border.

For too long, government bureaucrats have used environmental protection as an excuse to prevent securing our southern border.” Rep. Lance Gooden continued, “We must ensure federal law cannot be used to prevent the CBP from preventing drug smugglers carrying dangerous substances like fentanyl, terrorists, and other hostile actors from illegally entering our country.” 

Some of the most dangerous areas of the United States southern border are the 20.7 million acres of Department of Interior (DOI) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land. Historically, some presidential administrations have used existing federal law to block border security access in these areas under the guise of “environmental protection.” As a result, poorly patrolled federal lands along the border are routinely targeted by criminals seeking to enter our country.

Past surges of illegal border crossers have degraded the border environment. With record numbers of border crossings, increased environmental damage is anticipated to occur. One of the most evident examples of environmental degradation include trash accumulation and habitat destruction. Between 2007 and 2018, 460,000 pounds of trash discarded by illegal border crossers were collected along the 370 miles of the Arizona-Mexico border

Congressman Gooden’s commonsense bill will empower our immigration enforcement authorities with the tools needed to do their job, said Dan Stein, President of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). He continued, “Existing regulations hinder the ability of CBP and ICE to do their jobs, and this important legislation ensures that this outdated red tape does not aid and abet those entering the country unlawfully.”

Hon. John Hostettler, Vice President of Federal Affairs for the Texas Public Policy Foundation stated, “Border Patrol agents are united in their call for technology, infrastructure, and personnel to faithfully execute their mission.  Rep. Gooden has gone one step further and proposed to grant those on the front lines the vital, unhindered access to federal lands they need to provide even greater protection of the border.” He continued, “We at the Texas Public Policy Foundation commend Rep. Gooden for introducing The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, legislation vital to the peace and safety of Texans and the entire United States.’”


This legislation is endorsed by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Texas Public Policy Foundation, Heritage Action, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.