LAS CRUCES – As construction workers continued to erect steel bollard fencing along the southern border in New Mexico Friday, an Interior department official emphasized the federal Bureau of Land Management’s role in realizing President Donald Trump’s goal of completing the border wall.
“It has been my experience … that in our role to protect the environment and conserving public lands, the best way to do that is through border security,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond said in a telephone interview.
“Congress has given us a lot of responsibility,” he continued. “When it declares an area a wilderness, that means the land is supposed to be ‘untrammeled.’ That’s what the law says. It’s difficult to do that when you have illegal traffic going through, and smuggling in various forms.”