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U.S./Mexico Border Wall Risks Endangered Species Extinctions from Gene Isolation

by Just say NO to Border Wall!! Friday, Aug. 29, 2008 at 12:09 PM

Risks of the U.S./Mexico border wall on native species of ocelots and other mammals include extinction from genetic isolation of disconnected populations.

The border wall between U.S. and Mexico will do very little to stem the tide of undocumented immigrants coming from Mexico and points south to the U.S., though it will definitely impact many species of animals and plants who inhabit the desert region of the borderlands. Specifically large mammals like the ocelot, jaguarundi and Sonoran pronghorn antelope will find themselves cut off from other populations and be subject to genetic isolation and inbreeding. For species already suffering from low population numbers this is a recipe for extinction. The only reason for the border wall is to cover the politicians who want to appear to be "doing something" to stop undocumented immigration, though in reality they are doing very little besides causing species extinctions...

The recent July/August '08 issue of Audubon magazine details the risks faced by migratory species from the border wall;

"They [ocelots] used to range through Texas and into Arkansas and Louisiana; now the U.S. population, confined to a thin band along the river, is thought to number no more than 100. By cutting off gene flow and thereby causing inbreeding, the [border] fence will almost certainly eliminate all three cats north of the border, reducing our nation's native cat species by half."

From the Audubon action center;

"Stop Federal Government from Building Misguided and Damaging Border Wall

Join thousands of Audubon supporters across the country in the fight to protect the fragile environment along the U.S./Mexico border, including the Sabal Palm Audubon Center & Sanctuary. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently decided to waive more than 30 critical environmental and public health laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act, to construct a border fence that will jeopardize the economy, quality of life, and environment of communities throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

What will the border fence mean for the environment and for bird watching in some of the most spectacular birding hot spots in the world? Find out more.

Full Petition Text:

We reject a one-size-fits-all program dictated from Washington to construct a damaging border fence along the U.S./Mexico border while waiving landmark environmental and public health laws. We want a process for ensuring border security that: includes full and open public hearings, good-faith consideration of public comments, alternative methods of providing border security, and ensures protection of some of America's most valuable bird and wildlife habitat along the border region, including key habitats protected by the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, the Tijuana River Reserve Important Bird Area, and the Sabal Palm Audubon Center and Sanctuary.

We need a program to secure the border while protecting the environment and respecting border communities, not a narrow-minded plan that ignores the will of the people. The answer is not a 700-mile border fence, and the answer is not to waive critical environmental and public health laws like the Endangered Species Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

sign petition to stop border wall @;

Other groups include Texas residents who do not want any walls and fences going through their region;

Two weeks before the 2006 midterm elections, President Bush signed the Secure Fence Act into law. It states that “the Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide for at least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors,” along up to 850 miles of the United States’ southern border. Walls have already been built in parts of California and Arizona. According to a report commissioned by Congress, the border walls have had no impact on the number of immigrants who are in the United States illegally. The walls have already done tremendous damage, and the construction of hundreds more miles will magnify that damage. NO BORDER WALL opposes the construction of the walls called for by the Secure Fence Act, and urges Congress to repeal it immediately and halt construction.

A number of misconceptions surround the Secure Fence Act, the first of which is the use of the term “fence.” Chosen to evoke images of the picket fence that separates suburban neighbors, the barriers that have been built along the southern border more closely resemble the Berlin Wall. In California and Arizona rusted steel plates have been driven into the earth to create walls that are 15 feet tall. South of San Diego two more layers were added, the result being parallel concrete and steel walls with a graded road between them and 50 feet on either side cleared of all vegetation. Estimates of the construction costs for the full 850 miles of border wall called for in the Secure Fence Act range from billion to billion.

NO BORDER WALL is a grassroots coalition of groups and individuals united in our belief that a border wall will not stop illegal immigration or smuggling and will not make the United States any safer. A border wall tells the world that we are a fearful nation, not a strong and confident nation, and that we are unable to address difficult issues in an intelligent and meaningful way. It will do irreparable harm to our borderlands and our country as a whole. Many of us live on the border, and we know what will be lost if a wall tears through our communities, farms, and natural areas. We urge our elected representatives to reject the border wall and repeal the Secure Fence Act and the Real ID Act.

visit @;

If our government was really serious about stopping undocumented immigration, then the logical step needed would be repealing NAFTA/WTO free trade agreements that cause poverty induced migrations to the north. Niether border walls, ICE raids nor mass amnesty programs will solve undocumented immigrations if the source problems of NAFTA/WTO policies are ignored. In addition, all ICE raids will be rendered ineffective if the corporations exploiting undocumented workers are not help accounable for their actions!!

Dennis Kucinich (& Ron Paul) are among the few former candidates who understand this issue;

"NAFTA accelerated immigration from Mexico, in search of jobs

Q: Are undocumented immigrants necessary? Will Americans work on a farm 10 hours in 105-degree weather for only .50 per hour?

A: Well, first of all, we have to understand why so many people came north of the border to seek work. I talked about the connection between NAFTA, trade and our immigration policies. When NAFTA was passed, there was an acceleration of immigration from Mexico because people were in search of jobs. They were told their wages were going to go up. Wages collapsed in Mexico. Now, there were many corporations north of the border who were ready to receive a supply of cheap labor. We understand that. So of course we need to provide people a path to legalization. But if we do not look at NAFTA while we're looking at immigration, we're going to keep having the same problems. A new trade agreement with Mexico that has those principles will help workers in Mexico, help workers in the US, create conditions where we finally gain control of our economic destiny again."

found @;


How does NAFTA/WTO effect Mexican small farmers?

"The Costs of NAFTA"

By Cameron Walker, Auckland

"On the 1st of January 1994, The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the USA, Canada and Mexico came into effect. At the time, proponents of the agreement, such as then US President Bill Clinton, claimed that it would ‘lift all boats’. However, 11 years later, these promises seem empty. NAFTA has lifted some boats but many people throughout the three nations have been made worse off.

Under NAFTA, all three nations had to drop their restrictions on agricultural imports. Subsidies to small farmers had to be dropped, but the US government was still allowed to give multi-billion dollar subsidies to giant agri-business corporations, such as Cargill, ADM and Conagra. It is not surprising that these corporations lobbied hard for NAFTA.

Small US farmers, who were not subsidised, found it impossible to compete with these corporations. Between 1995 and 2002, the US lost 38,310 small farms. NAFTA and its precursor, the US Canada Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA), have had a similar effect on Canadian rural communities. Between 1996 and 2001, Canada lost 11 percent of its family farms. Meanwhile, US agri-business corporations have used the agreements to consolidate their control of the Canadian agricultural market. Canada’s largest farming co-ops Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and United Grain Growers have all been taken over by Agricore United, of which ADM has a large shareholding.

NAFTA has had an even worse effect on rural communities in Mexico. The Mexican market was flooded with subsidized US corn and maize imports, which were dumped at a price less than what it would cost a Mexican farmer to produce. As a result, an estimated 1.5 million Mexicans farmers have been forced off the land. These farmers then have to travel into the cities to compete for an ever decreasing amount of jobs with poor pay and conditions or make the dangerous (usually illegal) journey across the US border.

The process of small ‘inefficient’ farms being out-competed by large ‘efficient’ agribusiness corporations was supposed to make food cheaper for consumers. However, in all three NAFTA nations the price of basic foodstuffs has increased. In Mexico, the price paid to farmers for their produce has dropped by 70 percent, but the price of the nation’s staple food, corn tortillas, has increased by 50 percent in Mexico City and even higher in rural areas. Figures put out by the US Census Bureau showed that the Consumer Price Index (real prices for food eaten at home in the US) rose by 22 percent between 1994 and 2002.

Maize was first domesticated by indigenous Mexicans 9000 years ago. Over 41 distinct varieties of corn are grown in Mexico. This biodiversity is being lost as agribusiness corporations replace diverse plots with monocultures.

In order to sign up to NAFTA, Mexico’s then President Salinas removed Article 27 from Mexico’s Constitution. Article 27 dates from Mexico’s post revolutionary constitution of 1917. It broke up the Hacienda system under which large areas of land were owned by a few absentee landlords, forcing thousands of campesinos (peasants) into starvation or to become debt slaves to the landlords. The broken up tracts of land were to be turned into ejidos, which are communal farms run by campesinos in poor communities.

To many campesinos, especially the indigenous people of Mexico’s poorest state, Chiapas, the repeal of Article 27 destroyed any chance they’d ever have to farm their own land. Ejidos could now be privatized. To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), an organisation set up to fight for the rights of indigenous people this was the final straw. Subcomandante Marcos, the Zapatista’s poetic, ski masked, pipe smoking spokesman, declared NAFTA to be “a death certificate for the Indian peoples of Mexico”. The Zapatistas chose the 1st of January 1994 as the day of their uprising to coincide with the introduction of NAFTA."

article cont's @;

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