WAIVERS PAVE WAY FOR DEVASTATING BORDER WALL
A LETTER TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE*
APRIL 4, 2008
FOR MORE INFO, CONTACT
FERNANDO GARCIA, (915) 204-0337,
ADRIENNE EVANS (915) 276-0402,
BILL GUERRA ADDINGTON (915) 539-4158
*This letter was signed by over 200 human rights and environmental
groups and activists, as well as border residents and concerned U.S.
April 1, 2008 was the beginning of a very sad time for millions of us
on the border, in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, and
throughout the U.S. The Bush administration issued two waivers on
April 1 that circumvent dozens of U.S. environmental and other laws to
pave the way for wall construction to begin immediately on the Texas
border, and to continue on the New Mexico, Arizona and California borders.
With such an action, spearheaded by DHS Secretary Chertoff, the
Federal Government shows a major failure to work and consult with
border communities on the wall issue. Clearly, Chertoff is flexing
his muscle upon the border residents. Instead of dialogue and
consultation we, at the border, will receive imposition and
We on the border know that a wall won't work, and that it is not a
real solution. Many others know this also. We, the undersigned
individuals and organizations, are trying to educate the public and
elected officials about how the wall and militarization of the border
will profoundly impact the wildlife, the environment, our river and
the lives and rights of people on both sides of the border. The
executive branch of our government and the U.S. Congress, by their
actions, do not seem to care about any of that.
We believe that Americans must realize before it is too late that
their government is wasting taxpayer money in building an 18-foot-high
barrier along sections of the border, as well as in increasing the
militarization of the border communities, in a vain attempt to close
In three Texas counties, DHS intends to combine walls with the
existing flood control levees. By building this structure before it
has been thoroughly evaluated for safety and effectiveness, DHS is
recklessly endangering lives and property of border residents in these
We all now must endure an unimaginably difficult time during which our
nation's fears are manifested in an ancient, ugly form -- a wall –-
and manifested even more by increased militarization. In China,
Berlin, Israel, Palestine and Northern Ireland, WALLS DIDN'T WORK.
They definitely don't work in the U.S. either. They, primarily,
decimate human rights and show intolerance and rejection. They kill
hundreds of people annually in the U.S. because they drive people
crossing the border to walk through more remote areas of desert where
many then die of dehydration and exposure.
After lessons are learned, most walls are taken down. Thereafter, the
wall builders are ridiculed, if they are acknowledged at all. Walls
have failed to keep people out (or in) but, however, have damaged both
human and riparian habitat permanently.
The Rio Grande is a very sacred and special place, with several
wildlife refuges that will be devastated by a wall. In New Mexico,
California, and Arizona, there are many special and sacred places
along the border, including wildlife refuges and tribal lands, where
a wall has already been built, unbeknownst to most Americans. Many of
us have lived, farmed, and ranched along the border for generations.
We urge the American public to hold on to images of the border, its
people, and the environment as worth protecting, and to keep in mind
that the wall is temporary because it was born of a failed policy.
We the undersigned ask Americans not to let a wall divide our border
community. Even though the executive branch of the current
administration has exercised undue power to bring about the
construction, we the people must call, write and organize to stop the
wall. If it is built, we must demand that it be taken down. We ask
the American public to keep foremost in their minds the fact that the
border area encompasses one community that includes both sides.
By our actions and our words, we must hold to peace along the border.
Compassion, understanding and hope must inform the struggle that is
by necessity taking place on many levels right now along the
U.S.-Mexico border. We demand that our border communities not be
devastated by a wall and by militarization.
We will not remain silent as our country's constitutionally- guaranteed
freedoms and even its laws are swept aside in the name of greed, fear
and anti-immigrant fervor under the guise of "improving national
security." Our country was founded on Constitutional protections as
well as immigration, both of which are historically the very basis of
what makes us American.
Americans need to wake up to the fact that signs of tyranny and
imposition now exist in the United States of America, in the form of a
Cabinet member, Michael Chertoff, who is allowed to use his
legislatively- granted power to waive all U.S. law in order to
implement a failed anti-immigrant policy. That cannot be allowed to
go on any longer.
We the undersigned ask that Americans write their Congressional
Representatives as well as their President and demand that the impacts
of wall-building and militarization of the border be fully studied and
fully acknowledged, and that humane, affordable, wise and workable
solutions be found and implemented instead.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Posted by Debanuj at 9:46 AM