The problems linked to illegal immigration have had much attention lately: the criminals and potential terrorists entering without permission, the young children needing care and workers taking jobs that Americans, in fact, would do.
Then there’s the burden on taxpayers for all the social services as well as the possibility that lax state laws let them vote.
Now a new one has begun getting attention: the millions of pounds of garbage left by those traveling through southwest America’s deserts illegally.
“Perhaps the state hardest hit by trash at the border is Arizona, which shares 370 miles of border with Mexico,” says a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies.
“Behind only the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, Tucson, Arizona, is consistently the sector of the border with the highest number of Border Patrol apprehensions,” the report explains.
“The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality estimates that over 2,000 tons of trash are discarded at the Arizona border every year. As a consequence, the department established a website entitled ‘Arizona Border Trash’ in 2012 to coordinate and keep track of the state’s trash cleanup operations. According to ADEQ, each ton of trash requires landfill fees of $37 to $49, which are footed by Arizona taxpayers. That does not include fees for materials, transportation, or labor. ADEQ further estimates that each border-crosser leaves an average of six to eight pounds of trash behind.”
The harm from the 4 million pounds of trash left annually adds up in many ways, the report states.
“According to the ADEQ website, border trash ‘has been shown to affect human health, the environment and economic wellbeing.’ Included among the specific impacts are watershed degradation, soil erosion, damage to infrastructure, loss of vegetation and wildlife, and escaped campfires.”
Among those giving the issue some attention recently was Tucker Carlson on Fox News. He said, “I hate litter, which is one of the reasons I’m so against illegal immigration.”
The report said some journalists “jumped to vilify Carlson, suggesting that he was referring to the illegal aliens themselves as human ‘litter.’ These journalists are perhaps unaware of the environmental problems presented by the garbage left on our southern border.”
The report includes a chart showing the correlation between the illegal aliens arriving and the trash left behind.
“The correlation is clear. In fiscal years 2011 and 2012, when Arizona was experiencing over 120,000 border apprehensions, over 65,000 pounds of border trash was being collected annually. In the following years, as apprehensions fell as low as 70,000, border trash collections dropped, too – reaching a low of just 19,000 pounds in fiscal year 2015 before jumping back up in 2016,” the report explained.
The federal Bureau of Land Management says that for several years, a state-funded project called the southern Arizona Project included, as one part of its mission, collecting trash.
“While the broader program has ended, trash collections have continued into 2018. Through June of this year, over 15,000 pounds of trash have been removed,” CIS said.
“Every illegal alien prevented from crossing our southern border represents about seven pounds of garbage that will no longer be left behind to potentially damage water systems, wildlife, and soil. As such, lawmakers ought to consider that securing the border is not just a matter of national security, but environmental security too,” it said.