If a wall were erected in the middle of Yosemite Valley; if it were to block your view of Old Faithful; or if it were to cut across the land below the Blue Ridge Mountains, how would you react?
In Arizona, border wall construction has already begun, and it started in a national park unit – Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument - in September. Without Congressional approval, these funds were taken from military budgets. Footage of this project has revealed what we all feared – bulldozed saguaros, razed land and destroyed wildlife habitat.
Like most of our national park units, this place continues to be held sacred by Indigenous people, long before it ever was entered into a bank of federal public land. The significance of Organ Pipe for both the Tohono O’odam and the wildlife that live here extend beyond borders, too. Ceremony and wildlife have long roamed between what is now Mexico and the United States – the border wall directly disregards both of these aspects. If completed, the wall will be an insurmountable barrier to genetic diversity and healthy populations of species like the endangered Sonoran pronghorn and Mexican gray wolves; it will prevent endangered bighorn sheep in the U.S. from reaching calving grounds and water sources in Mexico; and it will stop adventurous jaguars from travelling up from Mexico to settle in the Sky Islands of Arizona and New Mexico. A wall will put at risk decades of binational collaboration, in which, conservationists and citizens have built friendships and working relationships as they try together to protect and restore our shared natural heritage.
If a border wall were to appear nearly overnight in Glacier National Park, would it create more outrage? Imagine permanent structures cutting through Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, and Arches. What kind of ecosystem disruption would it cause these places? What laws would be waved to build it in those parks? What Indigenous significance would again be ignored?
The border wall is not a border state issue – it is a national issue, and it touches aspects of all 40+ laws in Arizona that have been waived to build it – clean air, clean water, freedom of religion, wilderness, endangered species, migratory birds, etc. Imagine this is happening in your backyard. Stand in solidarity and demand no border wall funding during 2020 appropriations from your member of Congress. Call 571-200-5492 to be directly connected to your Senator. You’ll hear a quick script beforehand to prepare. Thanks for taking a stand for borderlands parks, wildlife, and people!