DOI transfers land to military for border wall
With his national emergency declaration, President Trump was able to rob $6 billion dollars from the Department of Defense to build unlawful border walls. Now, his administration is transferring lands along the border to the military for up to three years. Although the Real ID Act waiver authority only applied to the Department of Homeland Security, the DoD will be able to waive any and all laws on the border as well. This includes procurement laws.
Multiple segments in New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Texas have been slated for construction including the bootheel of New Mexico, a biodiversity hotspot and migration corridor for Jaguars and Mexican Gray Wolves. Walls in Arizona will permanently damage irreplaceable archaeological sites. This is possible because the DoD and DHS have waived laws protecting endangered species and historical sites, not to mention public health.
Statement from Kevin Bixby, executive director of Southwest Environmental Center:
"The areas being transferred to enable construction of an illegal and unnecessary border wall include some of the most biologically diverse parts of the United States, including Hidalgo County in New Mexico's bootheel. The wall will fragment habitats, divide wildlife populations and cause lasting harm to species such as Mexican gray wolves, bison and jaguars. As head of the Interior Department, Secretary Bernhardt is responsible for protecting the nation's wildlife and natural landscapes. He should be doing everything in his power to oppose the border wall and the permanent harm it will cause, not facilitating its construction."
Statement from Amanda Munro, communications director of Southwest Environmental Center:
"There seems to be no limit to the dictatorial lengths this administration will go to in order to militarize our southern border: putting children in cages, waiving bedrock laws designed to keep us safe, robbing funds from military projects to construct his vanity project, and now transforming our precious southwest borderlands into military installations. We are very proud of our public lands here in New Mexico, and to have them robbed from us is a slap in the face. Here on the border, we already feel like a military-occupied zone; this latest move just makes it official. The worst part is we feel like we have no power to stop it. This administration is bypassing Congress, waiving our laws, and now taking our land. Even the courts are failing us. This is not what democracy looks like."
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