Congress Strips New Funding for Mexican Border Fence
In a move being cheered by environmentalists and community groups, Congress on Tuesday sent the White House a spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security which, for the first time, excluded mandatory funding for new construction of the controversial fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Although the Senate in July passed an amendment to build an additional 300 miles of pedestrian fence at the border, that provision, sponsored by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), was stripped during subsequent negotiations with the House. The Senate passed the altered bill Tuesday afternoon by a vote of 79 to 19. DeMint voted against the measure.
Michael Degnan, Washington representative for the Sierra Club, a long-time opponent of the fence, issued this statement following the Senate vote:
Our government has already poured billions of dollars into building walls and barriers across 600 miles of the U.S./Mexico border. Although the effectiveness of these walls has never been measured, the negative impacts to communities and wildlife is clear. Border walls have separated families, caused damaging floods and erosion, and fractured habitat and migration corridors vital to wildlife that has been pushed to the brink of extinction.
We hope that this historic action signals a readiness to permanently move our country’s border policy beyond construction of costly and destructive border walls.