Showing posts with label Border Patrol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Border Patrol. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

U.S. IBWC meeting to defend their approval of dangerous border walls in the Rio Grande floodplain

In response to mounting criticism, the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) has agreed to host a public meeting to discuss their decision to approve the construction of border walls in the Rio Grande floodplain.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 29, from 6:00-8:00pm in Rio Grande City at the Holiday Inn Express located at 5274 East Highway 83.

Rio Grande City, along with Roma and Los Ebanos, will see miles of border wall built in the floodplain adjacent to homes, farms, and businesses.  These new walls will also repeatedly slice through the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

Since 2007 both the U.S. and Mexican sections of the International Boundary and Water Commission have rejected the construction of walls in the Rio Grande floodplain due to concern that during a flood event they would act as dams.  In the United States water could be trapped in communities, unable to drain into the river.  Flood water could also be deflected into Mexico, worsening flooding there, and potentially pushing the river into a new channel, which would change the location of the international border.

IBWC demanded that walls built in other parts of south Texas either be placed north of the levees or inserted into them, so that they would not impact flooding.  Roma, Rio Grande City, and Los Ebanos are not protected by levees, so walls have not been built there.

In February of this year the U.S. section of IBWC caved in to years of pressure from Customs and Border Protection and reversed their rejection of these walls.  Mexico continues to reject these walls.  If the U.S. acts unilaterally it will be in violation of the treaty that established the border.

U.S. IBWC claims that a flood model commissioned by Customs and Border Protection in July 2011 shows that if the Rio Grande were to engulf border walls after a hurricane, debris lodged in the walls would only block 10-25% of the water.  That model contains no explanation of where this number came from.  By starting with the assumption that walls will not block water, the result of the computer model is essentially predetermined.

In Arizona Customs and Border Protection have constructed nearly identical border walls – 6-inch wide posts with 4-inch gaps between them – across a number of washes.  In places these walls have trapped debris to a depth of nearly six feet.  Walls then act as dams, diverting water into nearby homes and businesses or causing severe erosion.  U.S. IBWC should explain how it is that walls of the same design trap debris and act as dams in the real world, but allow water to pass harmlessly though in the computer model that they are relying upon.

These walls have the potential to do serious damage to communities and refuges near Roma, Rio Grande City, and Los Ebanos.  The Sierra Club Borderlands Team and No Border Wall urge RGV residents to attend this public meeting and ask the U.S. IBWC tough questions.  These decisions are being made in Washington DC for political reasons, but it is our homes, and possibly even our lives, that are at stake.

For more information about these border walls, please read the recent Texas Observer piece:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Fence and Wild v. Wall screening in McAllen, TX

The Fence and Wild vs. Wall

Border Wall Films Showing at Cine el Rey

Cine el Rey * 311 S. 17th Street, McAllen, TX
Tuesday, July 31st, 7:00 pm

Join us on Tuesday, July 31st for a free screening of 2 short documentaries that explore the issues and controversies surrounding the recently constructed U.S./México border wall.  This free screening is part of Cine el Rey’s Sustainability Film Series, and is sponsored by the Sierra Club.

Hundreds of border residents have had their land condemned, and the erection of border walls through Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness Areas has already done tremendous damage, especially since the Department of Homeland Security has been able to use the Real ID Act to waive all relevant environmental laws. 

In February the US half of the International Boundary Water Commission approved construction of new border walls in the flood plain at Roma, Rio Grande City, and Los Ebanos.  If they are built, these border walls will channel flood water into these communities, and also deflect flood water into Mexican homes and property on the other side of the Rio Grande. 

The event at Cine el Rey will feature two documentary films, with a short discussion to follow-

·         The Fence   Award-winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy’s HBO documentary features candid interviews with Border Patrol agents, ranchers, environmentalists and voices from both sides of the border security debate.  Kennedy uses humor to highlight contradictions and politically-driven misinformation, as well as the ineffectiveness and costliness of the controversial border barrier.

·         Wild vs. Wall   The Sierra Club film by Tucson filmmaker Steev Hise is an overview of the environmental effects of current border policies, including insightful interviews and impressive footage demonstrating the long-term ecological impacts of border walls.

 Admission is FREE

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Draft programmatic environmental impact statement released for the entire northern border - CBP has announced public meetings

Customs and Border Protection has prepared a draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for unspecified enforcement activities along the entire US - Canada border, from Maine to Washington. These could include new or expanded forward operating bases, fencing, roads, towers, and just about anything that they think of over the next decade or so. The PEIS is extremely vague on exactly what might be done and where. It can be viewed here:

The public and interested organizations should offer comments, either online or at one of the scheduled public meetings along the northern border. Public meetings will be held from 7-9PM at the following locations:

October 4, 2011
Massena, NY VFW
101 W. Hatfield St.
Massena, NY 13662

October 6, 2011
St. Albans, VT
St. Albans Historical Museum
9 Church Street
St. Albans, VT 05478

October 5, 2011
Augusta, ME
The Senator Inn & Spa
284 Western Ave.
Augusta, ME 04330

October 4, 2011
Caribou, ME
Caribou Inn and Convention Center
19 Main Street
Caribou, ME 04736

October 11, 2011
Rochester, NY
Holiday Inn - Rochester
Airport 911 Brooks Avenue
Rochester, NY 15624

October 12, 2011
Erie, PA
Ambassador Banquet Center
7794 Peach Street
Erie, PA 16509

October 6, 2011
Detroit, MI
Holiday Inn Express
1020 Washington Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48226

October 17, 2011
Washington, DC
Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport
1999 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22201

October 3, 2011
Duluth, MN Holiday Inn
200 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802

October 13, 2011
Naples, ID
The Great Northwestern Territories Event Center
336 County Road 8
Naples, ID 83847

October 5, 2011
Bottineau, ND
Twin Oaks Resort and Convention Center
10723 Lake Loop Road
Bottineau, ND 58318

October 11, 2011
Bellingham, WA
Hampton Inn
3958 Bennett Drive
Bellingham, WA

October 6, 2011
Havre, MT
The Town House Inn
627 1st Street West
Havre, MT 59501

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tell Congress to Support the Border Security and Responsibility Act

Last week, Representative Grijalva (D-Arizona) introduced the Border Security and Responsibility Act of 2009 (HR 2076). This legislation would restore the rule of law to the borderlands by repealing the Real ID waiver provision and help protect our communities, private property, and national parks and wildlife refuges from damaged caused by the border wall.

This week, dozens of concerned citizens from across the nation are traveling to Washington, D.C. on their own dime to walk through the halls of Congress and build support for Rep. Grijalva’s bill.

But you don’t have to be in DC to make a difference. Please take action today. Call your member of Congress and urge him or her to support the Border Security and Responsibility Act of 2009. The congressional switchboard is 202-225-3121, or find your representative’s contact information at

With enough phone calls, we can elevate this critical issue for Congress and ensure that the damage caused by the border wall is no longer ignored.

Thanks for making a difference, and please pass on this alert and post links to it.

Suggested Talking Points for Phone Calls:

· Please cosponsor the Border Security and Responsibility Act of 2009, a bill recently introduced by Rep. Grijalva.

· The border wall has caused significant damage to communities, water quality, and wildlife habitat. I think that Congress needs to act to address these problems that the wall has created.

· I am concerned by the fact that three dozen laws were waived for border wall construction. Landmark laws like the Endangered Species Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act were put in place for a reason: to protect the public’s interest. These laws shouldn’t be ignored. An unelected official should not have the power to waive these laws.

· Land managers, local officials, and local communities have been shut out of the decision making process. This bill would allow them to have a say in border security decisions by requiring full public notice and participation.

· To address the damage that border walls have caused, there need to be robust mitigation efforts. This bill would develop initiatives to help mitigate negative impacts to communities and natural resources, including the network of congressionally protected federal lands along the border.

· Please cosponsor the Border Security and Responsibility Act of 2009 and help restore and protect the communities and natural areas of the borderlands.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 15 Friends of Friendship Park Vigil at Chula Vista Border Patrol Headquarters

What: Silent vigil in front of Border Patrol headquarters, protesting the destruction of Friendship Park and the exclusion of community voices from the decision-making process which has led to the elimination of public access to the park.
When: Wednesday, April 15, 12:00 p.m.
Where: Border Patrol Headquarters: 2411 Boswell Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91914.
Who: Friends of Friendship Park is a coalition of community organizations including (partial list): American Friends Service Committee - San Diego, Border Ambassadors (Del Rio, TX), Border Angels, Border Meetup Group, CASA (Coalition of Amigos in Solidarity and Action), Center for Justice and Reconciliation, PLNU, Center for Social Advocacy, Environmental Health Coalition, Foundation for Change, Los Caminos del Rio, MACC (Mexican American Catholic College), Mid-City Community Advocacy Network, Network of Spiritual Progressives, San Diego, Pax Christi Brownsville, Peace Resource Center of San Diego, Plan of Action in a Changing Era, Rio Grande International Study Center (Laredo, TX), San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice, San Diego Coastkeeper, Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO), Sí Se Puede Immigrants’ Rights Organization, Sierra Club, San Diego Chapter, St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, Surfrider Foundation, San Diego chapter, The Employee Rights Center in San Diego,Wildcoast – Costasalvaje.
Contacts: John Fanestil / / 619-823-6223
Enrique Morones / / (619) 977-9467
Why: This week President Obama will sit down to visit with President Felipe Calderon in Mexico. At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security is shutting down Friendship Park, where people from San Diego and Tijuana have visited with friends for generations.
In solidarity with those being denied access to this historic venue, and in protest of DHS decision-making, which has excluded all community voices, Friends of Friendship Park invite you to join a Silent Vigil on the day before the presidential meeting.