01:44 PM

For Immediate Release

President Trump’s State of the Union Address Emphasizes Reckless Border Security Plan

WASHINGTON (February 6, 2019) – Only two weeks after his insistence on funding for a damaging and ineffective border wall triggered the longest shutdown of the federal government in history, President Trump used his State of the Union address to reiterate his divisive demands. 

Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:

“The State of the Union address should be an opportunity for the President to inspire and bring together the nation, yet President Trump continues to divide us. Once again, we hear rhetoric from President Trump describing the ‘dangerous humanitarian crisis’ along our southern border. The real crisis is the one being fabricated by the Trump administration to construct a border wall that will devastate our communities, wildlife and public lands while doing nothing to secure our nation.

“In truth, it is President Trump’s fixation on this reckless and unnecessary wall that threatens our nation’s natural and cultural legacy. Defenders of Wildlife will not stop fighting to protect the communities and imperiled wildlife that would be harmed by this terrible wall.”



  • Walls block wildlife migration routes, trap and drown animals during floods, increase mortality of endangered and vulnerable species, and irreversibly damage fragile landscapes. Current wall proposals directly target the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, as well as Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park, the National Butterfly Center and the La Lomita chapel in Mission, Texas, threatening critically endangered ocelots and other rare species.
  • More broadly, the U.S.-México border cuts through the ranges of more than 1,500 native animal and plant species that would be placed at risk by additional border wall. A peer-reviewed article published in Bioscience and signed by more than 2,900 scientists declared the border wall would be a disaster for biodiversity.
  • 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 ten times under both the Trump and George W. Bush administrations to exempt the department from nearly 50 environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act, to construct roads and barriers

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.