By Judy Herman and Melanie Cohen
Children torn from their mothers’ arms, caged and left to sleep on concrete floors where bright lights glare around the clock. You’ve heard how the current U.S. border policy tramples human rights, but do you know that existing and proposed border barriers also threaten other species?
In a letter to the Border Patrol, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated that proposed barrier projects in two Arizona counties would put at risk 16 threatened or endangered species, including the ocelot, jaguar, Mexican
spotted owl and the monarch butterfly. The endangered Sonoran pronghorn population started to rebound, but its survival depends on access to the gene pool of pronghorns in Mexico. Raptors gain an unnatural advantage from their high perch on the wall, threatening rodents such as the kangaroo rat and other prey.
Even boundary rivers have fences dividing them. Supposedly permeable wire mesh fencing constructed during the Bush administration has clogged with debris and dammed rivers. During a storm in July 2008, in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a UNESCO-designated international biosphere reserve, the river backed up behind a jammed mesh wall, sending floodwaters into the nearby towns of Lukeville, Arizona, and Sonoyta, Sonora, in Mexico. According to the National Park Service, eventually flooding would damage the wall, erode the area around and below the fence, change vegetation in the park, and finally change the shape and function of the floodplains.
On August 19, three attorneys with the firm Sidley Austin filed to represent the House in the Sierra Club and American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s diversion of military funds for bor- der wall construction. The House’s lawyers wrote that Trump “is brazenly spending more money than Con- gress appropriated for construction of a southern bor- der wall, in clear violation of the Appropriations Clause.”
“This is not over. We will be asking the federal appeals court to expedite the ongoing appeals proceeding to halt the irreversible and imminent damage from Trump’s border wall. Border communities, the environment, and our Consti- tution’s separation of powers will be permanently harmed should Trump get away with pillaging military funds for a xenophobic border wall Congress denied,” said Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project.
Sign the petition to say “no” to Trump’s wall that would harm communities and undermine our democracy: aclu.org/wall