Sunday, August 24, 2008

Border Ambassadors Sponsors March from Fort Hancock to El Paso August 27 - 31

Join the border people’s march to stop the building of the wall, August 27-31, 2008. Wednesday 27: Cultural event to start the march at 6 p.m., Fort Hancock.

Thursday 28: March to Alamo Alto.

Friday 29: March to Fabens with a community event in Tornillo.

Saturday 30: March to Socorro with a community event in San Elizario.

Sunday 31: March from Ysleta del Sur to El Paso.

A major disaster for wildlife and parks along the U.S.--Mexico border may soon become reality if concerned citizens can not rally enough support to stop the construction of 700 mile fence. On April 1, for the fourth time in the past 2 years, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff used his authority to waive more than 30 environmental laws to expedite building 370 miles worth of new fencing along the U.S. Mexico border, including 57 miles of continuous wire mesh fencing and 21 miles of high-powered lighting from El Paso downstream along the Rio Grande. Being faced with growing and unexpectedly fierce opposition, DHS is cutting every corner in an attempt to complete 700 miles worth of fencing before the Bush Administration is out of office.

If DHS moves forward with fence construction before proper environmental analysis is completed, there will be serious impacts to wildlife and their habitats in the borderland region, including areas such as the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Big Bend National Park, the Lower Rio Grande Valley Wildlife Refuge, and the Rio Grande near El Paso. Within these areas live a number of endangered and threatened species, including jaguar, Mexican black bear, ocelot, Gila monster, and Sonoran pronghorn. The Rio Grande is an extraordinarily important area for wildlife in the Chihuahuan Desert, and an important migratory flyway for birds. The proposed fence will block wildlife access and passage, and the proposed lights could adversely affect migratory birds.

We can't allow the DHS to continue down this path. We need a comprehensive approach to border security that addresses root causes, is effective, and does not cause harm to border wildlife and ecosystems.

Unfortunately, Congress is not likely to act in this election year without significant outside pressure. This is a states' rights issue as much as an environmental one. That's why we are calling on our members who live in border states to contact their governors.

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