The No Border Wall Coalition hails the decision by the Department of Homeland Security to give the South Texas communities of Roma, Rio Grande City, and Los Ebanos a reprieve from border wall construction in 2008. It is our hope that this will be made permanent by the new administration. We believe that Cameron County and the rest of the border which is slated for wall construction before the end of Secretary Chertoff’s tenure should also be spared.
No Border Wall Coalition protest in Roma, Texas, July 2007
The border wall has already led to the condemnation of farmland and municipal property, and the walls that are currently under construction are devastating wildlife refuges and destabilizing South Texas’ flood control levees. $3 billion has been wasted on walls that the Border Patrol says only slow crossers by a few minutes. With two wars, a deepening financial crisis, and trillions of dollars of debt, our nation cannot afford to throw more money into this bottomless pit.
Levee - border wall construction on the northern border of a US Fish and Wildlife Refuge tract in South Texas October 24, 2008
We hope that the decision to spare these communities signals the beginning of a sane border policy on the part of the Department of Homeland Security and the Bush administration. The border wall is nothing more than a political prop, a backdrop for politicians who want to look tough on national security. With the election behind us, it is time to move beyond hollow symbols.
The No Border Wall coalition calls upon President-elect Obama to appoint a new Secretary of Homeland Security who will reject Michael Chertoff’s failures and refuse to play politics with the lives and property of border residents. He should enact a moratorium on further border wall construction until a non-partisan organization such as the Government Accountability Office can review both the impacts of the walls that have already been built and the foreseeable impacts of proposed walls.