April 5, 2022: Border Briefs
by Emily Matyas
Co-Leader, Sonoran Broadband (AZ)
- Some AZ Bills out for consideration would allocate or appropriate millions of dollars from the State to construct more border wall.
- Great Old Broads signed on to a letter from Defenders of Wildlife (DOW) to Department of Interior Secretary Haaland, asking for a meeting to discuss mitigation efforts of environmental damage from the border wall. Currently the Department of Homeland Security is overseeing remediation plans across the borderlands. But and others believe that the DOI should be in charge. As the letter states, “We strongly believe that the Dept of the Interior should be the leader in developing and directing this work. The Department of the Interior…. has in-depth expertise about the ecological resources of these lands, and has decades of experience implementing environmental laws.” It also mentions the DOI’s “expertise in both the substance of the ecological and tribal issues that need to be addressed…. cannot be duplicated by the Department of Homeland Security.”
- The Federal Budget, released Monday, March 28th, does include 225 million to transfer to the Department of Interior for border wall mitigation strategies (good), but Congress still refuses to rescind funding for 86 more miles of wall to be built.
- Construction of levee/border wall next to the Eli Jackson cemetery in Texas has resumed. Congress requires that no wall is built through a historic cemetery, though this one is very close.
- On May 1st, a caravan with the group Frontera Colectiva will travel from El Paso to Brownsville, Texas. It hopes to highlight surveying activities, presumably for more border wall, that are happening in the Laredo area. Apparently, surveyors are not being respectful to the cultural presence there.
- The Border Patrol (aka CBP, Customs and Border Protection) has sent its compilation of comments received on remediation projects along the Tucson section of the border wall. You can access this compilation through this link.
- Arizona Broadband Leaders and Sally Sharp had a meeting with CBP (Customs and Border Protection) Monday, April 4th, to discuss the comments received on remediation projects. CPB never stated how many comments were in favor or against specific issues, such as closing the gaps in the border wall. Great Old Broads advocates strongly for keeping the gaps open for wildlife corridors. But CBP said they want to close 25 small gaps. Arizona Broadband leaders are discussing the possibility of filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain details on the comments, and, hopefully, let the media know.
- The New Mexico and El Paso sectors of the border wall are now open for comment until April 7th. Please see the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release HERE. Comments can be emailed to CBP at ElPasoComments@cbp.dhs.gov. Please include “El Paso Remediation Plan Comments” in the subject of your email. You can find talking points HERE.