As President Donald Trump nears the last year of his first term, his border wall is nowhere near completion. The construction of the border, however, continues on — even if the portions that are complete are falling. So, while construction crews proceed to build the border wall, a new report shows that a national monument will be destroyed to make room for it.
An investigation by The Intercept shows that construction for the border wall will rip through the “Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a tract of Sonoran Desert wilderness long celebrated as one of the nation’s great ecological treasures, that holds profound spiritual significance to multiple Native American groups.” The area is located in Southern Arizona that borders to Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico. The area is a “500-square-mile wilderness area home to the best-preserved Sonoran Desert ecosystem on the planet.” Blasting through this sacred land has already begun and will continue through the end of the month.
Yes, I am tweeting an @theintercept article.
We shouldn’t be destroying incredible pieces of the Sonoran desert for anything, much less this.https://t.co/ujvwgmqE5n
— Cole Leiter (@coleleiter) February 7, 2020
“They’ve completely decimated Monument Hill,“ Laiken Jordahl, borderlands campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity who saw the destruction first hand, told The Intercept. “Nothing is sacred to them, no amount of destruction too grand. We’re living a nightmare down here in the borderlands.”
No one on Trump’s construction team is denying the destruction or seems to be bothered by it. It’s just like any other day on the job site. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection told the publication that “the construction contractor has begun controlled blasting, in preparation for new border wall system construction, within the Roosevelt Reservation at Monument Mountain in the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector,” and added, “The controlled blasting is targeted and will continue intermittently for the rest of the month.”
The American Civil Liberties Union Border Rights Center tweeted that due to the destruction of the national monument, “the wall will impact wildlife migration, exacerbate flooding, uproot indigenous sacred sites, and kill people.”
"As more miles of wall rise up and as and climate change turns our borderlands hotter and drier, thousands more will die.
This administration will sacrifice anything to further militarize the border and turn our public lands into killing fields." –@LaikenJordahl
— ACLU Border Rights Center (@ACLU_BRC) February 4, 2020
Jordahl wrote a compelling essay about what it is like to witness the destruction of land that people are desperately trying to protect.
“Imagine dedicating your entire life to protecting a place. Then imagine watching everything you’ve worked to protect be bulldozed by a desperate, self-serving president,” he writes. “That’s what’s happening right now to career scientists and conservationists at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on Arizona’s border with Mexico. I used to work there too. It breaks my heart.”
Click here to learn more about this sacred land.