Donald Trump will ask Congress to appropriate tens of billions (yes, that is billion with a B) of dollars to build hundreds of miles of new border walls, even though the walls that are already there have done tremendous damage to borderlands ecosystems and communities and do little to improve security. Tell Congress to just say NO!
Reuters reports that the locations for 413 new miles of wall on the U.S.–Mexico border and 452 miles of wall on the Canadian border have been identified. Cost estimates range from a low of nearly $15 billion to as much as three times that. Mexico has said repeatedly that it has no intention of footing the bill, and Canada is equally unlikely to do so. This means President Trump will ask Congress to use your tax dollars to pay for his new walls.
There are already barriers along more than 650 miles of the U.S.–Mexico border, and they have been an environmental disaster. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff waived more than three dozen laws to build them, including the Endangered Species Act, Wilderness Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Habitat set aside for endangered species, including ocelot, jaguar, and Sonoran pronghorn, has been fragmented. Border walls that cross washes and streams have caused flooding and sometimes have even been washed away.
Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security would also be empowered to waive laws to build walls.
But for all of the environmental damage done -- the national wildlife refuges and national monuments that have been scarred, the hundreds of farmers and ranchers who have had their property condemned, and the nearly $3 billion that has been spent so far -- the Congressional Research Service reports that border walls have had “no discernible impact” on immigration or smuggling.
Congress must refuse to throw billions more down this destructive black hole. You can help them hold that line.