Showing posts with label Rio Grande Valley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rio Grande Valley. Show all posts

Friday, April 12, 2013

April 25 "Fences and Floods: New Border Walls in the Rio Grande" at the University of Texas Pan American

Scott Nicol, Sierra Club Borderlands Team chair and LRGV Sierra Club Conservation co-chair, will be speaking at the University of Texas Pan American on April 25 about the flood risks and environmental damage that will come with new border walls slated for the Rio Grande floodplain. Through Freedom of Infomation Act requests Scott has uncovered documents showing that Customs and Border Protection plans to condemn private lands and take parts of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge to build these walls. For years the US section of the International Boundary and Water Commission rejected these walls as posing too great a flood hazard to communities on both sides of the river, but a year ago they caved in to pressure from CBP and approved walls in the floodplain.

At 6pm on April 25 the Sierra Club will screen the 20 minute film Wild vs. Wall, followed by a discussion of the hazards posed by these new walls. The event will occur at the UT Pan American Health Auditorium (HSHW 1.404), and is free and open to the public. You can see a campus map here.

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.

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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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

ARTE CONTRA EL MURO/ ART AGAINST THE WALL

ARTE CONTRA EL MURO/ ART AGAINST THE WALL

EXHIBITION TO OPEN IN BROWNSVILLE ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28
Hope Park, 12th and St. Charles, noon – 5 pm
Galeria 409, 409 E. 13th St.
Contact Mark Clark (956) 455-3599
Galeria409@yahoo.com
www.galeria409.com

Artists opposed to the construction of the Department of Homeland Security's new border wall will hang an exhibition of paintings and sculptures on the wall itself at noon on Sunday, February 28th at the once scenic Hope Park in historic downtown Brownsville, Texas. The exhibition is designed to draw attention to the waste of tax dollars used to produce this 18 foot tall, six hundred mile long barrier that cost an estimated 12 to 18 million dollars a mile. 34 federal, state and local laws and regulations were waived to facilitate construction of the iron fence that many Mexicans and south Texas residents now refer to as "El Berlin".

Construction of the rusting wall was recently completed through Hope Park, located at 12th and St. Charles Street, which was the site of the Homeland Security chief's press conference announcing the kickoff of the controversial project. The site was apparently selected as a backdrop for Chertoff's remarks because of its once picturesque view of the Rio Grande and the Gateway Bridge to Matamoros.

Numerous trees were removed for the right of way for the fence and historic marble plaques marking the start of the Chisolm Trail, the beginning point for many nineteenth century cattle drives, now butt up against the iron wall.

Organizers selected the date for the one day exhibition to coincide with Brownsville's annual Charro Days celebration during which Matamoros mayor Eric Silva and Brownsville's mayor Pat Ahumada came together on the bridge to exchange "abrazos", and pledges of brotherhood between the two cities.

Following the five p.m. closing of the one day outdoor show, the art work is slated to move to Galeria 409, a block away from the park at 409 East 13th Street, for a one month long run.

The Galeria 409’s laconic director, Mark Clark states he'll "do almost anything legal to oppose the border fence. It's going to block my view of the river". His 158 year old gallery building overlooks a bend in the river that will soon disappear behind this iron curtain.

Galeria 409’s hours are from twelve to five on Saturday and Sunday and by appointment during the week by calling (956) 455-3599.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Wall documentary screens in McAllen July 17 and San Antonio July 18

A new documentary about the border wall will screen in McAllen, Texas at the Cine el Rey theater on July 17, and in San Antonio at the Guadalupe Theater on July 18. With the recent Senate vote to build more walls, it is important to understand the history and human impacts of the border walls that have already been built. Below is the press release for the film. Spread the word!

***

A controversial new film about the border fence is coming to South Texas. The Wall, a documentary about the construction of a fence along the US/Mexico border will play two dates in Texas, July 17th at McAllen's El Cine De Rey and July 18th at San Antonio's Guadalupe Theatre. The film, which takes place in Arizona, California, and Texas, took 3 years to complete.

the wall documentary

Director Ricardo Martinez captures many perspectives impacted by the fence. The Wall follows several law enforcement officials, border town residents, and the Minutemen as they each faced the reality of having a 25 foot Wall being built in their backyard. Border residents like Gloria Garza of Granjeno watch as the fence is erected and new problems start to arrive.

the wall documentary,gloria garza
the wall documentary,secure fence act

Ricardo and his crew even managed to follow and track several undocumented immigrants in Mexico as they prepared to cross the border, and ultimately climb The Wall. Using never before seen surveillance footage and night vision cameras, a mysterious and sometimes dangerous world emerges.

the wall documentary

On the other side of the spectrum, the film features many border town residents and local officials. Small towns like Arivaca, McAllen, Granjeno, and Brownsville all make appearances in the film. Capturing a moment in time, the film tracks the No Border Wall Coalition's grassroots efforts to organize Rio Grande Valley residents against the fence. Showing the power of community, watch as Valley residents protest and unite to change the fence plan.

the wall documentary,gloria garza
the wall documentary,McAllen

The filming was not always sunny and nice. Ricardo's film crew often had to scale back equipment and camp out deep in the desert to catch traffickers, immigrants, Border Patrol, and vigilante groups on camera. Vigilante groups like the Minutemen make a particularly unsettling appearance in The Wall as Martinez captured a few of them making some 'controversial' statements about the US and Hispanics.

the wall documentary,minutemen
the wall documentary,minutemen

At one point, the film crew traveled to Altar, Mexico to interview immigrants preparing to cross the border illegally. Made up of 'huespedes' or safehouses, the town was essentially run by the Carteles in the area, which didn't reassure the film crew of their safety.

"Thinking back, that probably was against my better judgment, but I felt like it made a helluva story on camera," says Ricardo grinning. "The local priest and church basically told us as long as we stuck with him, we'd be fine. We did and in the end, it was actually kind of a nice town."

The film plays on Friday, July 17th at 8:00 PM at El Cine De Rey in McAllen and Saturday July 18th at 8:00pm at the Guadalupe Theatre in San Antonio. Tickets are $5. Q&A and reception follow. Screening Details and information can be found at thewalldocumentary.com or cineelrey.com.
For any questions regarding this press release, to review the film for your publication, or to contact the filmmaker email info@thewalldocumentary.com. To watch clips of the film visit thewalldocumentary.com, youtube.com/thewalldoc, vimeo.com/thewall, or friend our Facebook page!

Official Synopsis

In 2006, Congress passed The Secure Fence Act calling for the construction of over 700 miles of fence along the US/Mexico border. Fueled by the War on Drugs and the debate on Immigration Reform, politicians jumped at the chance to "secure our borders". They were not prepared for what followed.
Filmed over two years, The Wall, a feature documentary, chronicles the impact of constructing a border fence along the Southwest. From policy makers to citizens of border towns in Texas, Arizona, and California, the debate elevates as residents respond to having a fence built in their backyard.
Gloria Garza sat on her porch, in Granjeno, Texas. She was enjoying her stretch of land by the Rio Grande River, when a man from the Department of Homeland Security arrived with a piece of paper. He asked her to sign a letter granting permission to build a 25 foot wall on her property. She thought it was a joke.
In Nogales, Arizona, Sheriff Tony Estrada, completed his routine check of the border wall. Since the border fence had been built, violence and immigrant deaths are steadily rising. This is not a policy he could believe in, but few were listening.
Determined to stop immigrant crossing, the Minutemen had taken matters into their own hands. They patrolled the area intercepting immigrants and notifying border patrol. Armed with ammunition and an ideology, they openly advocated more fencing to help their objectives.
At the epicenter of this controversy, Wilfredo and Adan are undocumented immigrants with a lot at stake. Wilfredo is trying to get across the border and will have to pass several layers of fencing and security. Adan waits for his father who must make the same dangerous trip he himself took several years earlier. How will their lives be changed by The Wall?
Director, Ricardo Martinez brings The Wall to life; intertwining rare surveillance footage and controversial interviews. He and his crew often risked their own safety while filming.
At the forefront of the debate, the film includes commentary by The Texas Border Coalition, The Southwest Border Sheriff's Coalition, No Border Wall Coalition, the Minutemen, Border Patrol officers, congressional hearings, and more.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Border Wall Vigil in Washington DC March 17

Sponsored by CASA
Vigil Against the
Mexico/US Border Wall
Tuesday March 17th, 2009
10am – 12pm
Meet us in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool
at the East end of National Mall.
President Obama, help us tear down this wall!
Vigil Sponsored by CASA (Coalition of Amigos in Solidarity & Action)
A Coalition from the Rio Grande Valley, along the US/Mexico Border
For More Info,
Please contact:
Ryan 956-203-6801
or
Elizabeth 956-459-3205

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Chertoff Retirement Parties in Brownsville, Texas and Tucson, Arizona January 10

FROM BROWNSVILLE TO TUCSON, BORDER COMMUNITIES CELEBRATE THE RETIREMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY MICHAEL CHERTOFF

BROWNSVILLE, TX — On January 10th communities along the Texas border will be throwing Retirement Parties to celebrate the end of Michael Chertoff’s tenure as Secretary of Homeland Security. During his illustrious career, Secretary Chertoff has driven a wall through the borderlands, condemned the property of hundreds of Texas landowners, waived the laws that protect us, imprisoned immigrant families, and set a new low in the response to Hurricane Katrina. Border residents will gather in Brownsville, where Chertoff’s concrete and steel legacy is being erected along the Rio Grande, to remember the man who has done so much to our communities.

“This is not a protest disguised as a party - this is a party. Chertoff has only been Secretary for three years but he has managed to do a tremendous amount of damage. Texas will be glad to see him gone, and it can’t come soon enough,” said Scott Nicol of the No Border Wall Coalition.

In Brownsville Chertoff’s Retirement Party will be held at Galeria 409 starting at 6pm, within spitting distance of the coming border wall. Chertoff’s retirement is like Christmas morning and the day after you get over the flu all wrapped up together. So the party will blend a corporate retirement party and Carnival. Poets and artists will contribute their thoughts on the man who has so profoundly impacted the border; Ensamble la Mision (and possibly other bands) will play; a retirement cake and piñata will bear his likeness; Chertoff’s Wheel of Fortune; a raffle; and still-President Bush may even stop by to give Chertie a send-off.

“We’re having a party for Michael, but he’s not invited,” said Bill Guerra Addington from No Wall – Big Bend.

Galeria 409 is located at 409 E. 13th Street in Brownsville, between Levee and Elizabeth, a block from the Gateway Bridge. Call gallery owner Mark Clark at (956) 455-3599, or Scott Nicol at (956) 532-5983, for information, or email No Border Wall at noborderwall@yahoo.com.


BREAKING NEWS!
TUCSON ARIZONA WILL CELEBRATE AS WELL!
Chertoff's long awaited departure will be celebrated in Tucson, Arizona, in a region that has suffered from more than its fair share of border wall. Raise a toast to the ex-Secretary, and rest assured that he will be watching on the virtual wall's spy cameras.
Celebrate the end of Chertoff's reign of ineptitude Tucson-style with a pinata, dart board, and cold beer at:
The Hut
305 N. 4th Ave.
Tucson, AZ
The El Paso Retirement Party has been postponed.
Check back later to for details on its rescheduling.

Monday, December 22, 2008

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff's Retirement Party

During his illustrious career, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has driven a wall through the borderlands, thrown out the laws that protect us, imprisoned immigrant families, and set a new low in the response to Hurricane Katrina. Join us on January 10th as we celebrate his long-awaited exit!

Retirement Cake! Music! Games! Puppets! Raffle!

Galeria 409 is located at 409 E. 13th Street, between Levee and Elizabeth, a block from the Gateway Bridge and spitting distance from the coming border wall in Brownsville, Texas. Contact noborderwall@yahoo.com for more information.

Hosted by No Border Wall and Galeria 409

Friday, November 7, 2008

Come to El Paso's Rio Bosque Wetlands Park Before the Border Wall Cuts It Off From The Rio Grande

Saturday 15 Nov, 11 AM to 3 PM.

Visit El Paso’s Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, http://www.riobosque.org and see the city’s largest park before the Border Wall changes it forever.

Walks through the park to the site of the Border Wall will start every hour on the half hour (11:30, 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30). Many local organizations will have exhibits about the local flora and fauna.

Directions from I-10: Take the Americas Ave. (Loop 375) exit (Exit 34) and head southwest towards the Zaragoza Bridge. Enter the freeway portion of Loop 375 and take it to the exit for Alameda Ave., Socorro Rd., Pan American Dr. and Zaragoza Rd. Exit to the frontage road and continue straight ahead, crossing both Alameda Ave. and Socorro Rd. At Pan American Dr., turn left. After driving approximately 1.1 mile on Pan American, you'll cross a bridge over the Playa Drain. At 1.5 miles, you'll reach a second bridge, which crosses the Riverside Canal right before the gated entrance to the Jonathan Rogers and Roberto Bustamante water-treatment plants. Proceed about 2.5 miles to the Visitor Center. For a map visit http://www.riobosque.org

Organizations are encouraged set up a booth at this event. Contact Rick LoBello for more information, RickLLoBello@ cs.com .

Monday, November 3, 2008

Saturday November 15 See El Paso's Rio Bosque Wetlands Park Before the Border Wall Changes It Forever

Saturday 15 Nov, 11 AM to 3 PM.

Visit El Paso’s Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, http://www.riobosque.org and see the city’s largest park before the Border Wall changes it forever. Walks through the park to the site of the Border Wall will start every hour on the half hour (11:30, 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30). Many local organizations will have exhibits about the local flora and fauna.

Directions from I-10: Take the Americas Ave. (Loop 375) exit (Exit 34) and head southwest towards the Zaragoza Bridge. Enter the freeway portion of Loop 375 and take it to the exit for Alameda Ave., Socorro Rd., Pan American Dr. and Zaragoza Rd. Exit to the frontage road and continue straight ahead, crossing both Alameda Ave. and Socorro Rd. At Pan American Dr., turn left. After driving approximately 1.1 mile on Pan American, you'll cross a bridge over the Playa Drain. At 1.5 miles, you'll reach a second bridge, which crosses the Riverside Canal right before the gated entrance to the Jonathan Rogers and Roberto Bustamante water-treatment plants. Proceed about 2.5 miles to the Visitor Center. For a map visit http://www.riobosque.org

Organizations are encouraged set up a booth at this event. Contact Rick LoBello for more information, RickLLoBello@ cs.com .

If you can help with planning or during this event please contact judy Ackerman, 915-755-7371, Cell: 703-622-0661, j.p.ackerman@ sbcglobal. net . Please share this information with all your friends.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Big River Festival in South Texas - Enjoy the Rio Grande Before the Border Wall Cuts It Off!

Los Caminos del Rio is sponsoring the Big River Festival of 2008 at Anzalduas County Park south of Mission, Texas on Saturday, November 1.

Compete in an adventure race that combines kayaking, biking and other sports with mystery events!

Learn to paddle with one of Los Caminos del Rio's American Canoe Association-certified instructors.

Enjoy a nature tour of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s best ocelot habit!

Or just listen to great music while snacking on something good.

Cooking classes (teaching healthy twists to traditional Mexican cooking) will be free to the public.

A section of combined levee / border wall that is currently under construction begins behind homes in Granjeno and will end at the gates of Anzalduas County Park. Enjoy the park and the river now, before the wall is finished.

For more information and driving directions, visit the Los Caminos del Rio website: http://loscaminos.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=38&Itemid=73

Monday, October 20, 2008

Discover El Paso's Rio Bosque – Last Chance Before the Border Wall!

Saturday 15 Nov, 11 AM to 3 PM.

Visit El Paso’s Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, http://www.riobosqu e.org and see the city’s largest park before the Border Wall changes it forever. Walks through the park to the site of the Border Wall will start every hour on the half hour (11:30, 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30). Many local organizations will have exhibits about the local flora and fauna.

Directions from I-10: Take the Americas Ave. (Loop 375) exit (Exit 34) and head southwest towards the Zaragoza Bridge. Enter the freeway portion of Loop 375 and take it to the exit for Alameda Ave., Socorro Rd., Pan American Dr. and Zaragoza Rd. Exit to the frontage road and continue straight ahead, crossing both Alameda Ave. and Socorro Rd. At Pan American Dr., turn left. After driving approximately 1.1 mile on Pan American, you'll cross a bridge over the Playa Drain. At 1.5 miles, you'll reach a second bridge, which crosses the Riverside Canal right before the gated entrance to the Jonathan Rogers and Roberto Bustamante water-treatment plants. Proceed about 2.5 miles to the Visitor Center. For a map visit http://www.riobosqu e.org

Organizations are encouraged set up a booth at this event. Contact Rick LoBello for more information, RickLLoBello@ cs.com .

If you can help with planning or during this event please contact judy Ackerman, 915-755-7371, Cell: 703-622-0661, j.p.ackerman@ sbcglobal. net . Please share this information with all your friends.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Encuentro Nical Tlaca in El Calaboz, Texas August 16

Encuentro Nical Tlaca in El Calaboz, Texas August 16
A Gathering among people of this Land.
Danza, Celebration, Refreshments,
Papel Picado Workshop, and the
breaking of our already famous wall piñata.

We claim our land, it was given to us by our ancestors, it is our land, no barriers between our people, we will fight the wall of shame until the end.
At Eloisa's Land, in el Calaboz, 23352 W Us Highway 281 (look for green balloons)
from 5pm till dusk.

For more info, please contact Ryan @ (956)203-6801 or Elizabeth @ (956)459-3205

Friday, July 4, 2008

Protest the Border Wall July 12 at the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, Texas

What: A protest opposing the border wall at the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, Texas followed by a march on the Hidalgo County Commissioner’s Court

When: Saturday, July 12, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Where: Beginning at the University of Texas Pan American Student Ballroom

Saturday’s activities will begin at 5pm for a rally at the University of Texas Pan America Student Ballroom in Edinburg. Speakers will address the crowd from 5:15 until 6pm. Protesters will then march to the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court (at the corner of Closer and Cano). At the courthouse members of the community will have the opportunity to speak out against the wall. Their comments will be videotaped, and DVDs of their comments will be given to the Hidalgo County Commissioners. The County Commissioners, led by Hidalgo County Judge JD Salinas, have agreed to incorporate the border wall into the county’s flood control levees.

Initiated by the No Border Wall Coalition, the protest is meant to raise local and national awareness of the vast opposition to the wall because of its potential to divide border communities, destroy homes and farms, devastate unique ecosystems, damage border economies, and undermine our flood control levees. Also of concern is the impact the wall will have on the border area’s relationship with Mexico. Many view the wall as racist, as no wall is being built on the Canadian border.

In Hidalgo County, the border wall has been linked to levee repairs. While no one in the Valley disputes the fact that our levees need repair, allowing the Department of Homeland Security to take them over and make them into a border wall is a terrible idea. There have been no studies on the safety, effectiveness, and environmental impacts of a combined levee/ border wall.

According to the No Border Wall Coalition, repairing the levees could require only three feet of earth and caliche in many places, while the levee/wall project calls for a solid 16 foot wall of concrete, the costs of which will ultimately be borne by Valley taxpayers. Initial estimates that levee-walls would cost $5 million per mile have ballooned to $12 million per mile, with Hidalgo County paying over $200 million in construction costs rather than $48 million. Rather than flood control, repairing the levees has become a means for the Department of Homeland Security to build piecemeal walls that do not match up with the section of the levees that are in need of repair.

The costs go beyond monetary for this region. DHS has initiated condemnation proceedings against hundreds of private landowners along the border. U.S. homes, farms, ranches, and businesses lie either in the path of the wall or on land that will be behind it, cut off from the rest of this country. Along the Rio Grande, a natural border in and of itself, farmers and ranchers could be prevented from accessing irrigation water. The wall is set to go through and literally divide the campus of the University of Texas in Brownsville. Firefighters and emergency crews will have difficulty reaching homes and people on the south side of the wall. Our community will be divided, not just from Mexico, but from neighbors and from free access to the river.

The levee-border wall will also do tremendous damage to the environment of the Rio Grande Valley. The first two sections of combined levee-border wall will bisect parts of the Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge. They will destroy habitat that is critical to the endangered species and migratory birds that bring $125 million in ecotourism to the area each year.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Community Forum Against the Border Wall in Weslaco, Texas June 26

Thursday, June 26
7:00 pm
South Texas College, WeslacoBuilding G
Weslaco, Texas

Speakers include:

Meredith Linsky: Immigration attorney in Harlingen specializing in deportation defenseMartin Hagne: Environmental advocate, Executive Director of the Valley Nature Center

Disregarding all opposition, the Department of Homeland Security plans to begin construction of the Border Wall in Hidalgo County on July 25, 2008. Immigrant rights activists, environmentalists, labor rights fighters, and other concerned citizens who believe in human rights are planning this forum to educate, discuss and, most importantly, build opposition to the border wall, which is against the will and interests of the people of the Rio Grande Valley.

The Border Wall is immoral, racist, repressive, and threatens the natural environment for people and wildlife. It also threatens the cultural environment; the militarization of the border has social implications throughout the United States and internationally. The choice to begin rapid construction on the Wall and to waive environmental and all other legal protections, potentially weakens the structural integrity of the regional levee system during hurricane season, threatening to create a Hurricane Katrina-type catastrophe. We are holding this forum in conjunction with a series of public rallies and events to broaden opposition to the Wall. This will allow the community to become better informed about the real stakes in this struggle, to hold our elected officials and so-called “representatives” accountable, and to allow a public arena for discussion, debate, outrage and planning action. Come to the forum and share your ideas, opinions, questions, and thoughts.

For more information, call (956)246-8193 or e-mail standinsolidarity@yahoo.com.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

June 1 Vigils Opposing the Border Wall in California and Texas

Full-scale construction of new border fencing has begun in San Diego/Tijuana, and is scheduled to begin in Hidalgo this July. In response, a coalition of community-based organizations will be convening a vigil on June 1 from 3 – 5 pm at Friendship Park in San Diego where the border fence meets the Pacific Ocean; at Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park at 7:30 pm; and at Hope Park in Brownsville, Texas at 7:30 pm. These "Friendship to Hope" gatherings at either end of the 1900-mile border will serve as the vigils' symbolic anchors. The vigil is called "From Friendship To Hope – Gathering for the Future of the U.S.-Mexico Border."

San Diego, California – Friendship Park:

All people of good will are invited to a Vigil this Sunday, June 1 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Border Field State Park . We will gather at " Friendship Park ," a celebrated meeting place for the peoples of the San Diego/Tijuana region that is threatened by DHS plans for triple-fencing the border. Directions to Border Field State Park can be found at: http://www.bordermeetup.org/pages/directions.html

Big Bend National Park, Texas – Santa Elena Canyon:

We invite people of good will in Big Bend to gather for our local "Friendship to Hope" vigil June 1 at 7 pm. The entrance fee to BBNP is $20 per car, $10 for seniors. Carpooling is recommended. We will be gathering on the shore of the Rio Grande nearest to the parking lot at Santa Elena Canyon. Please wear appropriate walking footwear, and bring a candle and your own water/snacks. Call Adrienne Evans at (432) 371-2725 for more details.

Brownsville, Texas - Hope Park:

THE COALITION OF AMIGOS IN SOLIDARITY & ACTION (CASA) will sponsor the vigil on Sunday, June 1ST, 7:30PM at HOPE PARK IN BROWNSVILLE (E. 12th Street and E. St. Charles Street).

Friday, May 2, 2008

Submit written testimony to the Congressional Field Hearing on the Border Wall

On April 28 a Congressional Field Hearing was held in Brownsville, Texas. Titled Walls and Waivers: Expedited Construction of the Southern Border Wall and the Collateral Impacts on Communities and the Environment, it was intended to investigate the impacts that the border wall will have on border communities if it is constructed. Brownsville Diocese Bishop Reymundo Pena, Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster, and many other border residents testified, explaining the damage that a border wall would cause to the assembled members of Congress. The committee will continue to accept written testimony until May 16th. This is an important opportunity to inform members of Congress, and to ensure that our voices become part of the official record. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff has announced that since he waived the National Environmental Policy Act there will be no Final Environmental Assessments or Environmental Impact Statements, and it is unclear what will happen to the hundreds of public comments that they received. That makes the comments submitted to members of Congress in connection to the field hearing even more important.

Here are the guidelines for written submissions to the U.S.Congressional field hearing record. They need to be in by Friday, May 16th.

1. Head your comments with the hearing name and date: Walls and Waivers: Expedited Construction of the Southern Border Wall and the Collateral Impacts on Communities and the Environment, April 28, 2008.

2. Do not exceed 10 pages.

3. No cover page is needed, although your name, title, and the organization that you represent (if you have one), should also be stated at the beginning of your testimony.

4. Please use typed single-space letter-size (8½ x 11) white paper.

5. Send via the postal service as they are not equipped to handle mass amounts of e-mail. The mailing address is:
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands
1324 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

6. If you submit attachments or exhibits to your testimony please include them as separate items at the end of your testimony. If attachments are more than 10 pages (in addition to your original testimony) or on paper larger than 8½ x 11, we will not accept them for printing. Instead, you should paraphrase or quote as needed. If including charts, tables, maps, or photographs, they should be included on separate pages, not within the text of a page.

7. THINGS TO AVOID: Underlining, footnotes, capitalization of the whole document or solid blocks of text.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Join the No Border Wall Walk from March 8 to March 16

From March 8th to March 16th, marchers will follow the route of the proposed Border Wall from Roma, Texas to Brownsville, Texas. According to the Department of Homeland Security construction on this portion of the wall, which will be made up of 21 sections that will total 70 miles, will begin in the Spring.

Border Ambassadors will be walking 120 miles to protest the Secure Fence Act of 2006 and to advocate for immigration reform. This nonviolent demonstration will pass through the communities of the Rio Grande Valley which will be affected by a Border Wall. There will be transportation out to the beginning in Roma generously offered by Saint Joseph’s Academy in Brownsville, and food/lodging will be provided by local churches and community centers along the way.

Already students, teachers, professionals, and faith leaders have signed up for this walk. If you are interested in becoming a part of this social justice movement, for a mile or a day or the whole thing, please follow this link to the sign-up website at http://www.mysignup.com/noborderwallwalk

March 8- SATURDAY- Roma to Rio Grande City
March 9- SUNDAY- Rio Grande City to La Grulla
March 10-MONDAY- La Grulla to La Joya
March 11- TUESDAY- La Joya to La Lomita
March 12-WEDNESDAY- La Lomita to Las Milpas
March 13- THURSDAY- Las Milpas to Progreso
March 14- FRIDAY- Progreso to Los Indios
March 15- SATURDAY- Los Indios to Ranchito
March 16- SUNDAY- Ranchito to Brownsville

For more information go to http://smartborders.wordpress.com/walls-are-for-weather-not-neighbors/

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Border Ambassadors Sponsors the March For March Four

Border Ambassadors is sponsoring the March 4 March 4 to force the presidential candidates to address the issue of the border wall. Senators Clinton, Obama, and McCain all voted for the Secure Fence Act, but now they are vying for the votes of south Texas residents in the March 4th primary. The March 4 March 4 is a 7-day 63-mile walk from Brownsville, Texas to La Lomita Chapel in Mission, Texas. It will start on February 25 and end on March 2 at La Lomita. Passing through El Calaboz and Granjeno, this protest walk/march is scheduled to impact the March 4 Texas primary.

MARCH 4 MARCH 4 SCHEDULE:

Feb. 25th, 10:00 AM
Begin at the University of Texas at Brownsville
Finish at FM 1421

Feb. 26th, 10:00 AM
Begin at FM 1421 and Hwy 281 intersection
Finish at FM 1429
Return to St. Ignatius Catholic Church in El Calaboz for a screening of "The Ballad of Ezequiel Hernandez"

Feb. 27th, 10:00 AM
Begin FM 1429
Finish FM 491

Feb. 28th, 10:00 AM
Begin FM 491
Finish FM 493

Feb. 29th, 10:00 AM
Begin FM 493
Finish in the community of Las Milpas

March 1, 10:00 AM
Begin in the community of las Milpas
Finish in Granjeno

March 2, 10:00 AM
Begin in Granjeno
Finish at the La Lomita Chapel, Mission, TX

For more information go to http://www.borderambassadors.com/ or call Sarah at 830-768-1100.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Winter Texans 'Deputized' to Help Spread the Word that Texas Does Not Need a Border Wall

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BORDERAMBASSADORS.com
TO "DEPUTIZE" WINTER TEXANS
McAllen, TX January 28, 2008 All Winter Texans in the Valley are invited to a `party party' at Pepe's Bar and Grill on the Rio Grande from two until five p.m. this Saturday, February 2, 2008. Jeff Reed of Pepe's and BorderAmbassadors.com are hosting the event to `deputize' attendees as BorderAmbassadors to return home and urge their friends, neighbors and relatives to stand with them and Valley residents against `the wall.' According to Reed, musical entertainment will begin as early at 1 p.m. The `party party' will include numerous door prize drawings and area politicos and citizens will answer attendees' questions about the lack of need for a Wall to separate Texas from Mexico.

BorderAmbassadors.com was founded by Jay Johnson-Castro of Del Rio to campaign against construction of the wall as well as to promote tourism and economic growth on the Border. Its membership stretches from Brownsville to El Paso and on to the California coast.

"By deputizing the Winter Texans, who love the ambiance of the Rio Grande Valley, we will have ambassadors all over the U.S. dispelling the un-truths that are being told by many of the talk show hosts and TV commentators," stated Johnson-Castro. We support the actions of our elected officials and landowners who refuse to bow to the heavy-handed tactics of the DHS," he continued. "However, this `party party' is primarily about the camaraderie that Texans enjoy with our great winter visitors."

For more information, call Sarah Boone at 830-768-1100 before 1/31/08.On or after 1/31/08, call Jay Johnson-Castro at 830-768-0768 or cell, 830-734-8636.