Trump waives 28 laws to build new border wall in Texas

The next section of border wall would split a chain of conservation lands that provide critical ocelot habitat.

Map of Lower Rio Grande Valley
Map from Center for Biological Diversity


On October 11th, the Trump administration used the REAL ID Act to waive 28 environmental and public health laws to build eighteen miles of wall in Hidalgo County, Texas that would cut through the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park, National Butterfly Center, historic La Lomita Chapel, and hundreds of family farms. These linked conservation areas along the Rio Grande provide critical habitat for endangered ocelots, jaguarundis, and migratory birds in one of the most biodiverse areas in the United States. The waiver was announced in the middle of a CBP public comment period on this same border wall construction.

Map of bird species richness shows Lower Rio Grande Valley and Southern NM is a hot spot
Map from

According to diversity maps from, the Lower Rio Grande Valley is one of the richest places in the US for birds, as is southeastern Arizona and the bootheel of New Mexico. 

Recent polls and surveys show 51% of Texans66% of Californians, and 56% of New Mexicans are opposed to border wall construction. 35 cities and tribal nations have passed resolutions in opposition to border wall construction, including 24 in Texas. A diocese in Brownsville, Texas has publicly opposed construction on church property. 

Texas Representative Filemon Vela responded to the waiver saying, “The Trump Administration’s reckless decision to cast aside laws that protect clean air, safe drinking water, public participation and private property is shameful, and will not make anyone safer... Perhaps most troubling is that the Administration issued these waivers in the middle of a public comment period, blindsiding local officials, property owners and Congress, while steamrolling public input.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is suing the DHS for issuing this latest waiver. Southwest Environmental Center and the CBD already have a lawsuit pending on the waiver issued to build 20 miles of border wall in Santa Teresa, NM.


Between the November 6th election and December 7th, Congress will be debating how many more billions of dollars to waste on this catastrophic project. Will you make your voice heard? Call your representative, and urge friends and family in other states to do the same. Every call counts!

Continue submitting comments on the Lower Rio Grande Valley construction project here.

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