Commentary: SUNLAND PARK, N.M.— Conservation and human rights groups will gather Saturday to protest new border wall construction near the Santa Teresa Port of Entry, west of El Paso, Texas. The rally will feature speakers, musicians, faith leaders and a sunset vigil in the path of the border wall’s construction. Local and regional residents will join artists and organizers to decry Trump’s wall and highlight the human suffering and environmental devastation caused by border militarization.
“We will not sit idly by while Trump forces his obscene border wall on southern New Mexico,” said Kevin Bixby, executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center. “We invite the world to join us in rejecting Trump's wall, resisting further militarization of our communities and reclaiming space for our people and wildlife.”
Groups organizing and participating in the rally include the Southwest Environmental Center, the Center for Biological Diversity, the ACLU Border Rights Center, NM CAFé, Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife.
What: “All Against the Wall” Rally
When: Saturday, June 2, 5–8 p.m.
Where: Ave. Casas Grandes, south end cul-de-sac, near Santa Teresa Port of Entry, Santa Teresa, N.M.
In January 2018 the Trump administration waived more than 25 laws to speed construction of 20 miles of border wall near Santa Teresa, N.M., an area that’s home to rare wildlife in one of the world’s most biodiverse deserts. The Center for Biological Diversity, the Southwest Environmental Center and conservation partners filed suit in March to challenge the New Mexico waiver.
Last month, the Trump Administration broke ground on a 20-mile section of wall, converting existing vehicle barriers to 18-foot high steel bollard walls. Bollard-style walls obstruct the natural migration of wildlife, including birds and insects. Dozens of rare wildlife species, including the Aplomado falcon and Mexican gray wolf, make their homes in this region of New Mexico, as do kit foxes, bighorn sheep and ringtail cats. The area is also within historic jaguar habitat.
Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations. The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity.
Unauthorized border crossings are at a historic low and building more walls would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. The administration's border wall plans ignore the nearly 15 million people who live border communities and who overwhelmingly oppose the wall.