As of Tuesday, February 6, 2018
To the editor:
I strongly urge Congressman Walden and Senators Wyden and Merkley to oppose funding of the GOP’s proposed border wall in the upcoming budget negotiations.
The wall will create environmental devastation in the Southwest deserts, at an enormous financial cost to this country and with little indication that it will substantially reduce illegal immigration.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at least 89 endangered or threatened species and 108 migratory bird species could be affected by a wall, including the Mexican gray wolf, jaguar, ocelot and Peninsular big horn sheep.
The consequences of border walls on wild animals include death, reduced populations, blockage of migration routes, habitat fragmentation, exacerbation of flooding, loss of food, water and shelter, and harming the recovery of threatened and endangered species. In this time of global climate change and an increasing rate of plant and animal extinctions, the last thing Earth needs is another ecological wasteland.
In 2005 Congress passed the Real ID Act, which gave the Department of Homeland Security the authority to waive all laws when constructing a border wall. The agency has already used its authority four times in the past decade to waive 40 laws and federal safeguards to build more than 650 miles of barrier already at the border. Those laws include the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Clean Air Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Trump has used this waiver in the past and certainly will have no compunction about using it again.
And where will the funding come from? The Congressional Budget Office estimates the GOP’s tax plan will increase the nation's deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years. Trump wants $25 billion for the wall. How much bang for the buck will we get? The Migration Policy Institute, a highly regarded, nonpartisan think tank, has found that walls simply induce people to find other ways to cross borders — and more die in the process.
Clearly, the environmental, human and financial costs of this project would make it a dangerous and foolish national investment.