Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, February 14, 2019

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

Congress to Fund Trump's Destructive Border Wall

Barriers Will Permanently Harm Wildlife, Borderland Communities

WASHINGTON— Congress today prepared to accede to President Trump’s demands for border wall funding, releasing details of a budget plan that will give him nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of new barriers in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Some lawmakers have made a distinction between funding “fences” instead of “walls,” but the barriers allowed under this agreement will do the same amount of damage to wildlife, the environment and borderland communities.

“This despicable deal will wall off the Rio Grande Valley. It will permanently destroy spectacular ecosystems and wildlife habitat, and seize private land from Texas families,” said Paulo Lopes, public lands policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Trump and Republicans have doubled down on their racist agenda to build a monument to hate and fear. Anyone who votes for this is voting for Trump’s border wall, no matter what euphemism they try to hide behind. This is an enormous waste of taxpayer money that will do nothing to stop illegal drugs or human trafficking.”

Since January 2017 Congress has authorized $2.4 billion in border enforcement, including $1.7 billion to build 73 miles of border barriers. The budget deal increases the length of border wall Congress has approved under Trump to 128 miles.

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 including jaguars, Mexican gray wolves and ocelots.

The Center filed the first lawsuit against Trump’s border wall in April 2017. The Center also sued the Trump administration to challenge waivers that sweep aside public health and safety laws to speed construction of border walls in California, Texas and New Mexico. All of the lawsuits are pending.

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.

Border wall

A levee-style border wall cuts through the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse World Birding Center in south Texas. Photo by Scott Nicol. This image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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