Monday, November 26, 2007

Senator Cornyn Wants Billions for the Border Wall - Tell Him No!

With the introduction of S. 2348, the “Emergency Border Security Funding Act of 2007”, Texas Senator John Cornyn has once again shown that he values the worst politics ahead of the best interests of Texas and our nation. It calls for at least 700 linear miles of border wall and 300 miles of vehicle barriers along the US – Mexico border, and provides $3 billion dollars to get construction started. This despite the fact that the walls built so far have not impacted the number of people coming across the border.

In October, speaking to the Border Trade Alliance, Cornyn said, “I have long said that I do not support a fence, or as some said, a wall, between the United States and Mexico. That’s irrational and just doesn’t make sense, because we know that people can come over fences or walls; they can go under them; they can go through them, given sufficient opportunity.”

Once again, Senator Cornyn is talking out of both sides of his mouth. When he visits the border, where people know that a wall will do tremendous damage but no good, he says that he does not support a wall. When he is back in Washington, he sponsors legislation providing $3 billion to build the wall that he claims not to support.

Cornyn must be held accountable for his duplicity. Texas residents should contact his office and let him know what you think:

Senator John Cornyn
517 Hart Senate Office Bldg.Washington, DC 20510 Main: 202-224-2934Fax: 202-228-2856
The Senator prefers to screen his emails, but there is an online “comment form” here:

If you are not a resident of Texas, contact your Senators and let them know that you want them to oppose Cornyn’s bill. Congress should be working to overturn the Secure Fence Act, rather than spending billions more on the border wall.

To contact your Senators, go to:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tell US Fish and Wildlife - Destroying Refuge Lands for the Border Wall Is Not "Win-Win"

The New York Times quotes Jose Viramontes of the FWS Regional Office as saying the land swap in Arizona is a 'win/win' situation. This refers to the exchange of refuge land on the border for other land so that the wall can be built on what had been protected lands. The wall is being built before the swap has been finalized, and the Fish and Wildlife Service does not even know what land they will receive in exchange. The exchange was announced after the Buenos Aires refuge manager found the wall to be incompatible with the mission of the refuge. Please e-mail the Regional Director, Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, and Jose Viramontes directly and tell them to not use the words 'win/win' when discussing the border wall. If they can't support the decisions of those on the ground, the least they can do is not say things that directly contradict the reality on the ground. In the subject line, please use the words 'not win/win situation'. We need to flood their offices and let them know they are being watched by the South Texas contingency.

Send your emails to:
and CC:

Here is a link to the New York Times article:
Border Fence Work Raises Environmental Concerns

Monday, November 19, 2007

New No Border Wall Shirt Design Makes a Great Gift!

Introducing a new No Border Wall design for tshirts and mugs available at

The design features the quote, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall," from Robert Frost's poem, "Mending Wall." This line is the real message of the poem. The oft-quoted line from this same poem "good fences make good neighbors" is actually the ignorant opinion of Frost's simple-minded neighbor in the poem. (To read the entire poem and be able to pooh-pooh the next person who quotes it to you, go to This shirt is available in organic cotton, jersey style, ringer tee, and long sleeves.

There is also a mug available in regular and large sizes featuring the Robert Frost quote. It's an excellent way to start up conversations about the border wall and help spread the message!

The classic NO BORDER WALL logo design is also available at in a variety of styles, including children's sizes. Finally something to wear to opposition rallies and public meetings with Customs and Border Patrol! Pick up a bumpersticker or two while you're at it.

All proceeds go directly toward border wall opposition.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Call for Public Comments on Whether the Border Wall and Wildlife Refuges are Compatible

Comments are being accepted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service regarding surveying activities on Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge tracts. A survey for natural resources and a survey for cultural resources will be conducted in preparation for building a border wall on at least 14 separate refuge tracts. USFWS is preparing documents that will determine whether these activities are compatible with their mission. It is important that everyone who is concerned about the construction of the border wall submit a comment to USFWS. Please send your comments via email or US mail by November 19, 2007!

Here are a few ways to guide your comments:

· According to US Fish and Wildlife regulations (603 FW 2), “The refuge manager will not initiate or permit a new use of a national wildlife refuge or expand, renew, or extend an existing use of a national wildlife refuge unless the refuge manager has determined that the use is a compatible use.” It goes on to say, “Fragmentation of the National Wildlife Refuge System's wildlife habitats is a direct threat to the integrity of the National Wildlife Refuge System, both today and in the decades ahead. Uses that we reasonably may anticipate to reduce the quality or quantity or fragment habitats on a national wildlife refuge will not be compatible.” As the intent of these surveys is to pave the way for the construction of border walls which will seriously degrade and fragment the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, they are incompatible with the mission of the Refuge.

· We have no faith in the utility and impartiality of the survey process. The private corporation in charge of conducting the surveys, Engineering-Environmental Management, Inc. (E²M), has a vested interest in expediting the construction of the border walls to please their client, the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, E²M has already mismanaged the public comment period of the Rio Grande Valley EIS, allowing technical difficulties with both the official website and the posted fax number to interfere with the acceptance of public comments for several days of the already EIS short comment period. E²M should not be in charge of this vitally important surveying task. It should instead be carried out by local US Fish and Wildlife biologists who are familiar with the natural and cultural resources that are present in the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

· The USFWS has expressed concerns that there will not be enough refuge staff to properly oversee survey activities. We share these concerns; there should be USFWS oversight for all activities.

· The natural resource survey is further compromised by its limited duration. E²M employees will only spend 10 days surveying the natural resources in the wall’s path. That is utterly insufficient. Endangered species are by definition extremely rare, and sightings of migratory species are dependent on the time of year, so the odds of seeing one during any 10 day period are next to nothing. If they fail to see a particular endangered or migratory animal during their brief visit the final report may give the false impression that they are not present and will not be impacted by the wall.

· The cultural resource survey contains a troubling provision for backhoe trenching up to 33 ft deep in areas that have a high probability of cultural resources. This is listed as a “last option,” but it should not be allowed at all. Not only would such an activity be incompatible with the environmental mission of the refuge, it would likely destroy the very cultural resources that are being documented.

Please send comments to:

Refuge Manager
Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR
Rt. 2 Box 202A
Alamo, TX 78516

Or email (Subject line: Draft Compatibility Determinations: Border Fence)