On Jan. 25, President Trump signed an executive order instructing construction to begin on a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Environmentalists and civil rights activists say the proposed wall on the southern border with Mexico is a threat to the environmental rights of the people who live on both sides of the border.
“When you have such beautiful wilderness areas as we have here in Arizona, the idea of putting this large wall that prevents the migration of animals, that scars the earth itself, and especially knowing how ineffectual it is, is something that is just sad,” said Juanita Molina, the executive director of Border Action Network, an organization that advocates for the health and wellness of people who live along the border. “The reality is that border communities are porous by nature.”
Molina, who lives in Benson, Ariz., said the wall could cause flooding and debris build-up on both sides of the border. (Chris Clarke of KCET has reported that a concrete wall “would cause catastrophic flooding in the desert.”) Molina also said there could be legal and ethical consequences if people try to build on the land of the Tohono O'odham Nation, whose reservation straddles the border, and whose leaders have spoken out for years against a border wall. But even if no part of the wall materializes, she said, the rhetoric around it has already caused rifts in her community.
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