The Wall That Severs the Wild

Created by Barbara Waters, artist and participant in the Borderlands Broadwalk, April 2019.

Border Wall Construction Stopped – Restore the Damage!

In his first day of office, President Biden cancelled the unwarranted national emergency at the southern border, and paused construction of the border wall. We are grateful for this swift action—and it is only a beginning.

Broads joins with a coalition of organizations calling on the Biden Administration to immediately cancel all border wall contracts and use remaining funds to restore fragile ecosystems, mitigate damage, and take down the border wall. The 2,000 mile U.S./Mexico border stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. It passes through biologically rich and culturally diverse areas, including national parks and monuments, wildlife refuges, and sacred indigenous lands on both side of the border, now scarred or destroyed by border wall construction.

Broads held two online webinars during the summer of 2020 about the damaged caused by wall construction and how to raise awareness through writing Letters to the Editor (LTE). More than seven LTEs were published across the country urging the administration to stop the wall and repair environmental destruction (sample LTEs HERE and HERE). We support rescinding the waivers of 84 federal laws and statutes that would have protected the environment, indigenous rights, and more, to restore equal protection to the borderlands.

The coalition has listed priority wall segments for removal, focused immediately on those that stop wildlife movement and hamper water flows, as well as lighting infrastructure that impacts wildlife behavior, dark skies, and border communities. Some key areas include:

  • California’s Jacumba Wilderness and its endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep
  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument’s rare and culturally-significant Quitobaquito Springs area
  • Rugged passes in Arizona’s Sky Islands that serve as the best remaining corridors for jaguars and other wildlife between the U.S and Mexico
  • Areas rich for birds and federally endangered ocelots and jaguarundi in Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley

Digging Deeper…

America’s southern border zone is a sensitive, remarkable, and largely unrecognized place where militarization and construction of a border wall are wreaking havoc on public lands, and the rich animal, plant, and human communities.

It is a place where species from temperate and tropical zones meet. Rare birds inhabit the region and endangered mammals such as Jaguars, the world’s third largest feline, frequently travel between northern Mexico and the U.S. in search of suitable habitat, food, and mates. The borderlands provide a bridge that ensures genetic diversity as well as migratory corridors for these and other species to move north as climate change impacts the region.

Key Points

  • Walls, fences, and barriers fragment sensitive ecosystems, disrupt animal migration patterns, cause flooding, and divide communities and tribal nations.
  • Using the REAL ID Act, Trump has already waived 38 laws to rush wall construction. These laws include the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and laws that protect indigenous cultural sites and graves.
  • The border region is host to a diverse array of threatened, endangered and rare species, including the jaguar, ocelot, Mexican gray wolf, arroyo toad, Peninsular bighorn sheep, Sonoran pronghorn, cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, and Quino checkerspot butterfly.
  • 93 vulnerable species would be affected by wall construction and related infrastructure. It would degrade and destroy critical habitat for 25 species.
  • Border communities don’t want the wall. Thirty-six states, cities and counties passed resolutions opposing the border wall.
  • The majority of Americans (over 60%) oppose more miles of border wall.

Created by Barbara Waters, artist and participant in the Borderlands Broadwalk, April 2019

 

Take Action

Call, write, or meet with Members of Congress. Educate them on the border wall issue and ask them to:

  • Rescind the Department of Homeland Security Waiver Authority for Border Barrier Construction (H.R .1232 in House, S. 254 in Senate)
  • Prohibit construction of border barriers in wildlife and wilderness areas (S. 264)
  • Attend town halls, hearings, and candidate forums, give the facts, and ask what they’re going to do to stop the destruction.

Write Letters to the Editor and Op-Eds to your local newspapers to educate your community. Speak from your personal experience. HERE is an example letter.

Created by Barbara Waters, artist and participant in the Borderlands Broadwalk, April 2019.

Outreach & Education:

  • Invite a speaker to your community to talk about the wall.
  • Host a webinar with border experts (we can help!).
  • Host a film to educate your community such as The River & the Wall and Ay Mariposa! .
  • Share border videos and audio stories found HERE.
  • Find, work with, and educate unlikely allies who may not be aware of environmental concerns of a border wall: recreation groups, birders, hunters and anglers, religious groups, etc.
  • Watch the Broad’s social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for border wall posts and share. Use hashtags: #NoBorderWall #NoWall.