Fighting Our Berlin Wall
We wrote a piece a few weeks back charging congressional Democrats with a kind-of silence in the face of the Obama administration’s policy to retain controversial Bush-era environmental waivers in order to expedite construction of the U.S.-Mexico border fence.
Today, Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva proves us wrong, re-introducing legislation to scrap the controversial border waivers and reinstate the protective laws that have been ignored for the past few years, including the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
From Grijalva’s statement:
Current policy has driven crossing activity to remote isolated areas along the border which, in Southern Arizona, represent significant public and tribal lands. Many of these lands have suffered extensive environmental degradation as a result of unauthorized activity and border security efforts. This bill is the first step in preserving our unique natural heritage while we protect our borders.
The bill would also require the Department of Homeland Security to craft a comprehensive border strategy that examines both the effectiveness and costs of various approaches to protecting the border — all while weighing the community impacts and giving priority to non-barrier strategies like sensors, remote cameras and an increased number of boots on the ground.
From thousands of miles away, the issue is an abstract one. But imagine a 20-foot high concrete fence looming in your backyard and you’ll get a better sense of where Grijalva’s coming from.