Waves of illegal immigrants are taking a heavy toll on U.S. public lands along the Mexican border, federal
officials say. Mike Coffeen, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Tucson, Arizona found the level
of impact to be shocking. "Environmental degradation has become among the migration trend's most visible
consequences, a few years ago, there were 45 abandoned cars on the Buenos Aires refuge near Sasabe, Arizona and
enough trash that a volunteer couple filled 723 large bags with 18,000 pounds of garbage over two months in
"It has been estimated that the average desert-walking
immigrant leaves behind 8 pounds of
trash during a journey that lasts one to three days if no major incidents occur. Assuming half a million people
cross the border illegally into Arizona annually, that translates to 2,000 tons of trash that migrants dump each
Illegal immigrants trying to get to the United States via the Mexican border with southern Arizona are suspected
of having caused eight major wildfires in 2002. The fires destroyed 68,413 acres (276.86 km2) and cost taxpayers
$5.1 million to fight.
Illegal immigrants have also used many parks inside the United States to grow and then distribute illegal drugs,
turning previously protected nature areas into "heavily armed drug compounds".
In states like Pennsylvania and Maryland there has been widespread poaching of trout streams by illegal
immigrants. This has cost the state and fishermen who pay license fees a tremendous amount of money. Although the
costs have not been totally calculated such costs are large in terms of resources damage, lost revenues due to fish
being removed from streams and rivers, and extended law enforcement attempts to catch the poachers. Also,
widespread littering and tresspassing damage have been reported.
Sportsman's groups and fishing organizations are extremely upset with the failure of state agencies to protect
their streams and to properly enforce exisiting laws due to the beauracratic mess with illegal immigrants.