masthead-highres

Friday, August 19, 2005

Endangered Species Reform and Immigration: When Travel is Illegal, Only Illegals Will Travel

Does a proposal to reform the Endangered Species Act intersect with the immigration issue? Husband David thinks so:
A draft of an Endangered Species Act bill that reportedly will be introduced by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) next month includes a provision that could sharply restrict how and where Americans travel.

The bill, known as the "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act," would extend the ESA to cover certain so-called "invasive species."

"Invasive species" are generally defined as plants, animals, fish or other organisms that have spread beyond their normal geographical range.

People can spread invasive species by inadvertently picking up seeds of plants on their clothes and dropping them in areas where the plant doesn't normally grow.

Because invasive species can be spread through such activities as hiking, biking, driving, horseback riding and boating, among other activities, including an invasive species provision in the Endangered Species Act could give federal authorities new powers to restrict our travel.

Interestingly, the debate over invasive species and whether to include them in the Endangered Species Act comes at a time when the issue of weakness in U.S. border security is receiving increasing attention.

One wonders if immigrants crossing our border illegally - who, presumably, would be as likely as anyone else to inadvertently transport seeds of invasive species - would be covered by the new regulations.

If so, would the federal government enforce them?

That's doubtful, given that we can't even manage to enforce our border.

When travel is made illegal, only illegals will travel.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:10 AM

Copyright The National Center for Public Policy Research