Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, June 19, 2018

Contact: Paulo Lopes, (202) 849-8398,

Senate Republicans Ignore Refugee Children Separated From Families, Push Funding for Trump's Border Wall

WASHINGTON— A new Senate spending bill includes $1.6 billion for more border wall construction in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. The bill, from the Senate Committee on Appropriations, would allow approximately 65 additional miles of border wall to be built without any meaningful environmental review.

“It’s heartless for Senate Republicans to push for border wall funding while the Trump administration holds innocent refugee children hostage at the border,” said Paulo Lopes of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Trump’s wall is a disaster for communities and the environment. As long as children remain separated from their parents, it’s shameful for policymakers to even discuss funding this ridiculous wall. Their first and only priority should be reuniting families.”

Since January 2017, Congress has authorized $2.4 billion in border enforcement, of which $1.7 billion was allocated for walls along the U.S.-Mexico border. These funds will pay for approximately 73 miles of new border wall, which are currently being constructed. The Trump administration waived dozens of environmental laws to speed border wall construction.

“With every dollar of wall funding, Republicans are condoning the destruction of wildlife and communities through the seizure of private property by the federal government,” Lopes said.

A 2017 study by the Center identified more than 90 endangered or threatened species that would be threatened by wall construction along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.

The Center filed the first lawsuit against Trump’s border wall in April 2017, and recently appealed a ruling in a separate lawsuit that challenges the Trump administration’s waiver of dozens of environmental laws to replace border walls near San Diego. The Center also sued the Trump administration to challenge its waiver ignoring 25 laws to speed construction of a border wall in New Mexico. The Trump administration is expected to set aside these same laws to rush border wall construction in Texas.

Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations. The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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