| For Immediate Release: May 16, 2006
Center for Biological Diversity Concerned About Wildlife Impacts
Tucson, Ariz. – The Center for Biological Diversity announced concerns about the environmental impacts of the Bush administration’s plan to deploy 12,000 additional troops and agents to the U.S.-Mexico border.
More border militarization, walls, low-level aircraft and roads will further damage already-stressed wildlife and places, such as the cactus pygmy owl and Sonoran pronghorn in Arizona, flat-tailed horned lizard and Peninsular bighorn sheep in California, jaguar and Mexican wolves in New Mexico, and the Rio Grande River in Texas.
“Bush’s plan will further militarize the border, harming wildlife and natural landscapes,” said Daniel R. Patterson, Desert Ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity who formerly worked with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. “Bush and Congress must find ways for people to legally cross at ports of entry now. An ethical solution cannot wait as more migrants and the desert’s web-of-life are dying.”
As federal enforcement intensifies, a key focus should be wildlife-friendly vehicle barriers in strategic and at-risk places on the border, such as the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Goldwater Range, Buenos Aries National Wildlife Refuge and Coronado National Forest.
Once the vehicle barriers are in place, agents should patrol in trucks only on roads right on the border or outside wilderness areas, and elsewhere on horse or foot. A wildlife-friendly vehicle barrier at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has proven effective at stopping smuggling vehicles from entering the U.S., but the Border Patrol is still driving off-road in wilderness areas where vehicles are prohibited, destroying fragile desert habitat and running down wildlife and pedestrian immigrants with humvees, trucks and off-road vehicles.
The Center for Biological Diversity is based in Tucson, Arizona and has 22,500 members across the Southwest and nationwide.