Our report details the complex and vibrant biodiversity of lands and wildlife along our southern border from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. Simply put, a wasteful and damaging border wall would destroy wildlife habitat and bisect border communities.The Trump administration’s border wall would divide families and communities along the border and jeopardize wildlife, habitat and years of conservation progress and collaboration between the United States and Mexico. We cannot allow that to happen.”
For Immediate Release
Defenders of Wildlife Releases New Report: Impacts of a Border Wall on Wildlife, Wild Lands and Binational Conservation
WASHINGTON (April 2, 2018) – Defenders of Wildlife’s new report, In the Shadow of the Wall, details the impacts to wildlife that an impenetrable border wall would have along the 2,000-mile border. The U.S.-Mexico border passes through regions rich in biological diversity where communities have engaged in conservation work for decades. The border wall puts this legacy at risk. To underscore all that is at stake, Defenders of Wildlife identified five Borderlands Conservation Hotspots along the border's path from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.
Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:
“Our report details the complex and vibrant biodiversity of lands and wildlife along our southern border from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. Simply put, a wasteful and damaging border wall would destroy wildlife habitat and bisect border communities.
“The Trump administration’s border wall would divide families and communities along the border and jeopardize wildlife, habitat and years of conservation progress and collaboration between the United States and Mexico. We cannot allow that to happen.”
Multimedia page: For links to the full report, the five hotspots, a video on Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge and photos of impacted wildlife, click here.
An excerpt from the report:
"The 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border—and the “big, beautiful wall” the Trump administration envisions along parts of it—pass through stunning and biologically diverse landscapes. Together the United States and Mexico have long labored to protect these lands. President Trump’s vision does not bode well for the future of collaborative cross-border conservation and the wildlife, habitat and local economies that benefit from it. Border landscapes include deserts, mountains, rivers, streams, thorn scrub forests, tropical and subtropical broadleaf forests, freshwater wetlands, salt marshes and coastal mangrove swamps. Except for the coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, most of the border is desert or semi-arid. The rivers and streams of the borderlands support particularly high levels of biological diversity, including birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and butterflies found nowhere else."
Wildlife along the Border
- More than 600 miles of border walls and barriers have been constructed in all four southern border states – California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
- In California, border barriers affect more than a dozen endangered and rare species, including the endangered Arroyo toad and the Quino checkerspot butterfly. Any extension of the border wall would bisect the Tijuana River, which flows through the locally protected Marron Valley in San Diego County and the federally protected Jacumba Wilderness Area, cutting off important migration routes and devastating recovery efforts for the highly endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep.
Border Wall Policy
- Section 102 of the 2005 REAL ID Act gave the Secretary of Homeland Security unprecedented power to waive any federal, state or local law to construct roads and barriers along the border. This waiver has already been invoked five times to exempt the department from more than 35 environmental laws including the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Antiquities Act and National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act to construct roads and barriers along the Southwest border.
- In 2006, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture issued a Memorandum of Understanding that set forth goals, principles and guidance on border security implementation, minimizing and preventing significant impact on natural and cultural resources while efficiently and effectively implementing the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws, regulations and policies.
- On Jan. 25, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order, “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” which called for the expansion of the border wall.
- Both House and Senate Department of Homeland Security appropriations bills included the President’s full request. A total of $1.6 billion was eventually allotted in the Omnibus Spending bill for the construction of additional levee walls, bollard fencing and other barriers along the southwest border both in San Diego and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The bill was signed by President Trump on March 23, 2018.
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.