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3:24 PM Wed, Jan. 16th

Franks introduces bills on mining, illegal immigration

Trent Franks

Trent Franks

KINGMAN - Rep. Trent Franks introduced two bills directly impacting Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

In response to the recent controversy over illegal immigration, Franks introduced the National Border and Homeland Security Act of 2010 on July 2.

"Securing our borders, especially from terrorist and WMD incursion, is critical to the task of protecting our homeland," Franks said in a news release July 2.

According to Franks' office, the bill would require the federal government to send 6,000 National Guard troops to the Arizona/Mexico border and require the hiring and training of 6,000 additional, full-time Border Patrol agents.

The bill would also extend border agents' jurisdiction to federal parks and wildlife refuges along the border. According to Franks' office, agents are currently limited in what they can do within the boundaries of federal parks and refuges, but most illegal immigrants cross the border at these locations.

According to Franks' office, the bill has other measures that would further deter illegal immigration and give border agents the tools to search for nuclear materials. The exact details of the bill are not yet available because the Library of Congress has not yet printed the bill.

Franks also introduced a bill on July 1 that would prevent the federal government from removing more than 1 million acres of public land surrounding the Grand Canyon, including parts of northern Mohave County, from mining for the next 20 years.

The area includes some of the richest deposits of uranium in the continental United States.

"Considering President Obama's call for the construction of additional nuclear power plants, it is astonishing to me that the Administration would nevertheless move to ban uranium mining in the most significant known uranium ore reserves in America," Franks said in a news release July 1.

The Bureau of Land Management is working on an environmental impact study of the area and expects to have a draft of the study ready by August. The final copy of the study is slated for January, and the government is hoping to reach a decision on the matter by March 2011.