Timeline for entries tagged “Environment”

A chronology of events related to U.S. border governance and migration

March 1, 2021

A broad coalition of environmental groups, civil rights activists, and Native American tribes released a report calling for the Biden administration to remove 59 miles of border wall in sensitive areas such as wildlife corridors, areas of natural beauty, and sites with tribal significance. 

Tags: Environment, Indigenous Communities, Tucson

November 2, 2020

  • Customs and Border Protection will soon finish installing 50 wildlife passages across 63 miles of recently-completed border wall in southern Arizona in an attempt to allow more small animals to move across the border. The openings, which some have likened to “doggy doors,” are flush with the ground and the dimensions of a standard sheet of paper—eight and a half inches wide and 11 inches tall. The agency says the openings will make it easier for small animals to get through the wall, and that it plans to install more in the future. But scientists and environmentalists tell National Geographic that these openings are too small and too far apart to have a significant impact.

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Environment, Fencing, U.S. Policy

September 30, 2020

  • The National Park Service cited public safety concerns for its decision this week to prohibit access to a sacred Tohono O’odham site, a move that comes amid rising tensions between border wall protestors and federal agents. The order comes a week after protestors and federal agents clashed during a demonstration at the site of border wall construction through Organ Pipe. News reports said armed agents tried to relocate protestors after repeatedly telling them it was not safe and they had to leave the site.

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Environment, Fencing, Indigenous Communities, U.S. Policy

September 9, 2020

  • Two O’odham activists protesting the building of the border wall were arrested after blocking construction activity near Quitobaquito Springs in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The springs in southwestern Arizona are sacred to the Tohono O’odham and Hia-Ced O’odham, and are one of very few natural sources of water along the vast, rugged Arizona borderlands. The area also is at the crossroads of construction efforts to replace existing vehicle barriers with 30-foot steel bollards as part of a $891 million replacement project at Organ Pipe.

Tags: Environment, Fencing, Indigenous Communities

July 31, 2020

  • A coalition of scientists says the Trump administration’s border wall project in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is wreaking havoc at Quitobaquito Springs, the only source of freshwater for miles and has existed for some 10,000 years. It feeds into a pond that used to be home to Hia-Ced O’odham and Tohono O’odham tribal communities. 

Tags: Border and Migration Politics, Environment, Fencing, U.S. Policy

June 29, 2020

  • The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear a challenge to the Trump administration’s authority to build the border wall in parts of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas that are ecologically sensitive. The four environmental groups involved argued that the power granted to the DHS Secretary to waive huge conservation staples like the Endangered Species Act is unconstitutional and provides too much power to the executive branch.

Tags: Environment, Fencing

June 29, 2020

  • A year after the contract was awarded, CBP officials release the design for the section of border wall that will span southern Arizona’s San Pedro River. Thirty-foot-tall steel bollards will be installed across the river with swing gates to allow river water to flow. The San Pedro is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the southwest and is vital to borderland ecosystems and migration patterns. Local environmental advocates state that the design “doesn’t adequately address concerns about debris buildup and flooding, let alone creatures,” as the administration “basically [makes] it up as they go along.”

Tags: Environment, Fencing

June 15, 2020

  • Arizona Public Media reports on the efforts of the Cocopah peoples to prevent construction on their land in the Colorado River delta between California, Arizona, and Mexico. The Cocopah have prevented construction projects thus far by submitting a court document that emphasized the heightened cost of building on the area’s difficult terrain. Tribal lawyers also state that the area is “the cultural and spiritual heart of the Cocopah homeland” and that a wall would cut off vital access to water and family living on the other side. 

Tags: Environment, Fencing, Human Rights, Indigenous Communities

June 5, 2020

  • The Project on Government Oversight publishes an analysis of the Trump administration’s conduct in pursuit of the border wall since 2017. It tracks the waiving of vital laws that protect taxpayers, the environment, and indigenous groups, and how continued construction during the pandemic places workers, families, and border town residents at risk.

Tags: Environment, Fencing, Indigenous Communities, Oversight, Public Health

May 25, 2020

  • Local ranchers near Nogales, Arizona, and conservationists criticize the Trump administration’s recently awarded $1.3 billion contract to Fisher Sand and Gravel for 42 miles of border construction in the area. The administration waived multiple protective land laws for the project and it would disrupt cattle ranching Forest Service land used by locals for generations.

Tags: Environment, Fencing, Nogales

May 7, 2020

  • The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) releases a copy of its April 20 letter to Fisher Industries asserting that the company’s 3-mile fencing project near the Rio Grande in Texas violates the 1970 Boundary Treaty and could worsen flooding. IBWC calls on the company to install flood gates, realign the fence, or consider other ways to mitigate flooding before continuing the project.

Tags: Environment, Fencing, Rio Grande Valley

April 28, 2020

  • The Center for Biological Diversity releases footage of border wall construction destroying parts of the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and the Tinajas Altas Mountains near Yuma, Arizona. The remote area, next to Mexico’s El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, is not a major crossing point for smugglers or migrants but is home to the core population of Sonoran pronghorn, kit foxes, golden eagles, and other endangered species.

Tags: Environment, Fencing, Migration, Yuma

April 15, 2020

  • DHS issues a new environmental waiver to expedite approximately 15 miles of border construction in five non-contiguous segments in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. The waiver puts the Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge at risk.

Tags: Environment, Fencing, Rio Grande Valley

March 30, 2020

  • National Geographic releases a report regarding the Section 102 waivers issued by DHS earlier this month for wall construction in Arizona and New Mexico. The report highlights endangered wildlife concerns as the waivers permit construction through the heart of the Sky Islands in Arizona, a region home to species found nowhere else in the U.S. including jaguars, colorful birds called trogons, lowland burrowing tree frogs, and brown vine snakes. 

Tags: Environment, Fencing

March 17, 2020

  • CBP officials announce that an additional 74 miles of border wall is set for construction in the Cochise, Pima, and Santa Cruz counties of Arizona. The new projects will run along sections of the Coronado National Forest and the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. The announcement did not include an estimated cost, though the 63 miles built in the region last year cost approximately $1.3 billion. 

Tags: Environment, Fencing

February 27, 2020

  • The U.S. Army and CBP invites members of the press to watch the detonation of a portion of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona. As the explosives were set off in Arizona, the chair of the Tohono O’odham Nation, Ned Norris Jr., was offering testimony in D.C. regarding the Trump administration’s desecration of the Nation’s ancestral lands – much of which is within or near Organ Pipe.

Tags: Environment, Fencing, Indigenous Communities