Tell the Senate to Fund Wildlife Bridges, Not Walls
Yesterday, May 3, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget to fund the federal government through the end of September 2017. The budget now moves to the Senate, with a looming deadline of Friday, May 5 at midnight for a vote. Some news outlets and Democrats have publicly proclaimed this budget doesn’t include money for a border wall. They are wrong.
Included in this budget are $292 million allocated for replacing existing pedestrian fencing and vehicle barriers along approximately 40 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted out photos on Monday, May 1 showing the types of structures the administration is hoping to build with these funds:
Folks, these structures are walls. Democrats, Republicans, and the press in D.C. can call them “fences,” but make no mistake—they are barriers to the movement of wildlife, and they function as walls. They divide borderland habitat; they prevent wildlife from reaching water and mates; they eliminate the potential for movement; and they push development and human migration further into remote desert areas.
Wildlands Network opposes the use of these structures on the border, as do our partners in the conservation and social justice communities in Mexico and the United States. Security experts and borderlands communities know they don’t solve problems like drug smuggling and human trafficking. They are useless, and they are dangerous.
Security through Connectivity
Wildlands Network believes the path to a secure and sustainable future for the U.S.-Mexico borderlands is one that respects wildlife and humans on both sides of the border; builds connections between scientists, communities and agency officials in both countries; and creates incentives to solve our problems together, transparently and justly.
We believe that $292 million should be spent building bridges, not walls.
Wildlife bridges, to be more precise. We know they save the lives of humans and wildlife. We know they work in Montana, and Wyoming, and Colorado, and Arizona, and…you get the idea. In Mexico, we’re already working with government officials to plan and develop crossings for jaguars near the border, like this:
With $292 million dollars, we could build at least 48 wildlife overpasses or mitigation structures across roads and highways. We could save thousands of human and animal lives every year. That’s what the American people’s hard earned money should be going toward—solving problems and saving lives.
If you agree, please contact your Senator and tell them you oppose the funding for additional border wall structures included in this budget bill. Tell them you support protecting wildlife and the safety of all people in the borderlands. And tell them you’d like your tax dollars to be put to work building bridges for wildlife, in this budget and every other budget they vote on.