For Immediate Release, January 12, 2021

Contact:

Laiken Jordahl, (928) 525-4433, ljordahl@biologicaldiversity.org

Letter Urges Mexico to Oppose Trump’s Wall, Help Restore Natural, Cultural Resources

MEXICO CITY— Mexican conservation groups, scientists and the Traditional O’odham Leaders of Mexico today urged the Mexican government to oppose further border-wall construction, condemn the wall’s environmental destruction, and work with the Biden administration to reopen wildlife corridors severed by Trump’s wall.

“Mexico's expertise, encouragement and support would be critical to any binational effort to rehabilitate border-region ecosystems and repair all that’s been destroyed,” the letter says.

The groups want the Mexican government to remediate the harm to Mexican protected areas from dynamiting mountains, draining groundwater aquifers, bulldozing Indigenous sacred sites and severing cross-border wildlife corridors.

“Trump’s wall has destroyed some of the most spectacular places in the borderlands and inflicted permanent damage to protected areas and wildlife habitat on both sides of the border,” said Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We urge the Mexican government to work with the Biden administration to oppose any more wall construction and reopen cross-border wildlife corridors. Working together we can heal some of this heartbreaking, senseless destruction.”

Wall construction through protected areas like Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in the United States and El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, blocks critical migration routes and prevents the recovery of endangered species.

Construction crews have dynamited protected lands remote regions along the border, throwing tons of debris into Mexican territory and destroying critical habitat for endangered jaguars and other wildlife. The extraction of millions of gallons of groundwater from border-region aquifers to mix concrete for the wall has harmed Mexican protected areas by further drawing down fragile desert aquifers that sustain endangered fish and wildlife. A 2017 Center report identified 93 threatened and endangered species along the 2,000-mile border that would be harmed by Trump’s wall.

The Center, along with the Tohono O’odham Nation chairman and almost 100 other groups, sent a letter to President-elect Biden in November urging an immediate halt to wall construction. The Center and allies have sued to challenge Trump’s emergency declaration, which would fund that construction.

Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations. The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity.

Cabeza_Prieta_National_Wildlife_Refuge_Russ_McSpadden_Center_for_Biological_Diversity-scr.JPG
Border-wall construction blasts through the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge and Pinacate Y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve. Photo credit: Russ McSpadden, Center for Biological Diversity Images are available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.