We believe that border security should equally value the very homeland we are trying to protect: the clean drinkable water, clean air and abundant wildlife that provide the quality of life we enjoy in our borderland communities. The environmental consequences of border security policies should be considered a national security issue, too.
In 2011, Sky Island Alliance commissioned a nationwide survey that found that 64% of the American public oppose or strongly oppose waiving laws along the border for the purpose of building infrastructure. Click here to read SIA’s news release.
The current immigration reform debate includes unnecessary anti-environmental provisions that eliminate the rule of law and continue the reckless damage inflicted on our fragile borderlands. The 37 federal protection laws that have been waived constitute the largest waiver of law in U.S. history. The waiver of our federal protection laws has already led to tremendous damage, and jeopardizes the very identity of the region as one of the most biologically diverse areas in North America. Due to these waivers, we are seeing numerous concerning impacts:
- Dangerous flooding in a time when water supplies are increasingly precious.
- Widespread soil erosion caused by construction of new roads and barriers.
- The spread of invasive species like bufflegrass that increase the risk and intensity of fire.
- Increased roadkill and animal deaths from night-lighting and vehicle traffic.
- Increased pollution and toxins in the air we breathe and the water we drink.
- The creation of new roads and increased activity in wild and remote areas that disturb wildlife, damage habitat and increase access for poaching.
- Broken wildlife linkages, preventing animal movement essential to finding food, water and mates.
We support efforts to reform our immigration system in a way that is fair and just, and that respects the rule of law, as well as our borderland communities and our shared environment. We are discovering more about the environmental benefits of the borderlands and its wildlife, and continue to educate people about these benefits. We are mapping the construction and impacts of new border infrastructure. On both sides of the border, we are discovering new species, restoring watersheds, and collaborating with landowners and agencies to protect important habitat.