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Designation of monument sparks border concerns

May 22, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) — President Barack Obama has designated nearly a half-million acres (202,000 hectares) of rugged desert terrain along the U.S.-Mexico border as the newest U.S. national monument.

The proclamation Wednesday heightened criticism from some lawmakers and law enforcement agents who see the move as a threat to security in a region where the influence of Mexican drug cartels, human smuggling and illegal immigration are all apparent.

However, officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the designation involving the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area will not limit security efforts along the border.

The campaign to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area has been 10 years in the making.

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