Archive for the ‘Texas Border Wall Fence’ Category


Notes from Scott Nicol of
No Border Wall



The biggest news is that Congress is on the verge of approving more [appropriations for the Border Wall Fence]. The Senate version of the DHS appropriations bill has more (lots more!) border walls, while the House version does not. If it is not stripped in conference Boeing and Kiewit will be set to make billions of $ more. Ciro Rodriguez is on the conference committee, but it is hard to tell if he has the strength to stand up and demand that the Senate’s wall-building amendment be stripped.

Also, thousands of pages of FOIA requested documents on the wall were released (heavily redacted) online. Check out governmentdocs.org.


From Scott Henson’s


$33 million for TDEX

Steve McCraw [BTC- McCraw is Texas Governor Perry’s appointed DPS agency head; who is also Texas State head of DHS. No insider trading there, right?] also used the commission meeting to promote spending $4.1 million in asset forfeiture funds on the TDEX database – Texas’ version of a Total Information Awareness intelligence system that’s been one of the Governor’s principle homeland security hobby horses. The $4.1 million makes up for a program shortfall experienced in the last biennium, said McCraw, who added that the Lege put up $12 million for the next biennium and the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division would spend another $17 million in grants on the project for a total of $33 million over the next two years.

McCraw called TDEX a “great investment for our department,” but Commissioner Carin Barth pointed out that spending money on TDEX meant the asset forfeiture money couldn’t go for other priorities like Tasers and body armor. To this writer, $33 million seems like a lot of scratch for a database that’s been highly controversial but which, to my knowledge, has never actually contributed to solving a criminal case.


By contrast, I’ll bet $33 million would go a long way toward reducing delays at DPS’ drivers license offices.[Or delays at the U.S. Mexican border – let’s not beat around the Bush here.]


Written by Steve Taylor and Joey Gomez , Rio Grande Guardian

McALLEN, July 24 – Forty three members of Congress have sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano voicing concern over the “mounting” environmental and societal impact of the border wall and other security barriers.

The lawmakers have asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to cooperate with other applicable agencies to create and fund a “robust border-wide environmental monitoring program” and to provide “sufficient mitigation funding” for damage caused by border security infrastructure and enforcement activities along the Southwest border region.

“It is the Secretary’s responsibility to protect the homeland, not selectively destroy our environment,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., one of the 43 members of Congress to sign the letter.

Grijalva, who convened a congressional hearing about the border wall at the University of Texas at Brownsville last year, said a review is necessary to “quantify, compensate for and avoid the negative consequences of border security infrastructure and operations.” He said border communities are “open to working on behalf of security – not a selective security, but rather one that includes habitat, national, border, and regional security.”

Grijalva described the hundreds of miles of border fencing constructed by DHS as a “massive federal project.” He said the project has had “serious consequences upon natural and cultural public resources, and has caused hardship for private land owners, whose lands have been condemned and livelihoods have been disrupted.”

Scott Nicol, a co-founder of the No Border Wall group, pointed out that U.S. Fish and Wildlife estimates that 60 percent of their National Wildlife Refuge tracts in south Texas will be impacted by the border wall. The South Texas tracts were established, in part, for the protection of endangered species such as the ocelot and jaguarondi.

“We are pleased to hear that 43 members of Congress are stepping up to the plate and attempting to correct some of the environmental damage that the border wall has done. If former Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff had not been given the power to waive all laws, this would have been addressed before wall construction began. Chertoff used the Real ID Act to waive the National Environmental Policy Act, along with 35 other federal laws, stopping the usual Environmental Impact Statement process in its tracks,” Nicol told the Guardian.

“Before the first bulldozer dug into the earth to clear a path for the wall, many of its impacts had been predicted. The Environmental Protection Agency warned that blasting in California’s Otay Mountain Wilderness Area would dump thousands of tons of rock and sediment into the Tijuana River. Defenders of Wildlife issued a report on the Arizona wall’s impacts on the ability of endangered Sonoran pronghorn to migrate. U.S. Fish and Wildlife told DHS that Hidalgo County’s levee-border wall would be incompatible with the mission of the wildlife refuges that it would slice through.”

The letter from the members of Congress has this to say about the environmental impact of the border wall in south Texas:

“In south Texas, private land owners and agricultural interests have significant tracts of land that have been or will be isolated to the south of border fencing. Yet, DHS has only offered compensation for the exact footprint of the infrastructure – failure to recognize or compensate for fiscal losses of property value and accessibility caused by the construction of border fencing.”

Nicol said the monitoring and mitigation program that the members of Congress are calling for would be a “good first step towards bringing scientific rigor to an understanding of the wall’s impacts.” However, he said the No Border Wall group is concerned that DHS will ignore its findings, “just as they ignored the Environmental Protection Agency, Defenders of Wildlife, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.” :::MORE HERE:::


Taragana.com/WASHINGTON – Biologists have determined that a 700-mile security wall under construction along the United States’ border with Mexico could significantly alter the movement and “connectivity” of wildlife, with the animals’ potential isolation a threat to populations of some species.

However, technology and alterations to the design could dramatically improve the potential for animals to move more freely between the two countries, the scientists added.

“The biggest concern is that this barrier will break small populations of animals into even smaller pieces that will result in fewer animals interacting,” said Clinton Epps, a wildlife biologist at Oregon State University and co-author on the study.

“A major barrier such as this could lead to significant degradation of connectivity for many different species, ultimately threatening their populations,” he added.

In their study, the authors looked at the potential effects of the security wall on two species – the pygmy owl and bighorn sheep.

They found that the low-flying pygmy owl made three-fourths of its flights below the height of the security wall, which is approximately four meters high, and that juvenile owls had lower colonization in areas of disturbance or areas with less vegetation. ::MORE HERE::


85-100 Endangered Texas Ocelot’s Losing Habitat to Border Wall Fence

This Fall, Homeland Security plans to build hundreds of miles of fencing between Texas and Mexico. This fence has grave consequences for the small populations of Ocelots that still remain.

Ocelots are small endangered cats whose fur resembles a jaguar.There are between 85 and 100 remaining in the Texas area, and this fence will almost certainly disrupt the breeding patterns of these cats who move to Mexico for water and to breed. 

A study conducted by Homeland Security details these risks and states that “efforts are underway to preserve key habitat and biological corridors necessary for ocelot survival.” 

Sign this petition today to let Homeland Security know that you are watching to make sure they keep their word and protect these valuable ocelots!

Support Alternative Legislation: HR 2593 – The Borderlands Conservation & Security Act: Protecting our Communities, Protecting our Environment, Protecting our Borders