Washington, D.C.-- Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, today went to the House floor to defend Western New York from proposed legislation that would give the Department of Homeland Security unprecedented authority over lands within 100 miles of an international border.
In a speech delivered on the House floor, Slaughter criticized legislation that would create an "operational control zone" for the Department of Homeland Security. Within this zone a litany of environmental laws would be waived and the US Customs and Border Patrol would be empowered to take control over historic landmarks that fall anywhere within the 100 mile zone, such as the Theodore Roosevelt National Historic Site.
She also strongly defended the sovereignty of Native American lands, such as the Tuscarora Reservation in Tonawanda. Under the proposed legislation, the federal government would be allowed to violate the sovereignty of sacred Native American lands if it fell within 100 miles of the US border. For example, the Department of Homeland Security would be allowed to build a road across tribal lands without approval from Native American populations.
In part, Slaughter said:
"My entire district would fall under the newly created 'operational control zone.' As a result, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol could take control over historic landmarks such as the Theodore Roosevelt National Historic Site.
"Meanwhile the sacred, historic and sovereign lands of the Tuscarora Indian Nation would also be opened to federal agents. Such an extreme federal overreach would violate the sovereignty of the Tuscarora Indian Nation, and many other tribes around the country whose land falls within this zone."