Restoration begins in some areas damaged by border fence

July 29, 2010

Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

From the Arizona Daily Star:

Volunteers planted 1,300 baby agaves near the Mexican border over the weekend where 4,000 agaves were torn out two years ago to build the border fence.

The plantings at Coronado National Memorial represent the first major effort in Arizona, and among the first in the Southwest, to start compensating for the environmental effects of the fence lining parts of the Mexican border.

“This is a very rural environment, and the effects of all these things are poorly understood at this time,” [Mark] Sturm [resource-management chief at Organ Pipe National Monument] said of the border fence and other immigration- and border security-related activities. “We’re trying to help the species get through at this difficult time, during a prolonged drought…

Overall, it’s hard to say how far the new restoration projects will go toward compensating for the effects of all the various activities along the border, he said, adding, “It’s a lot more than doing nothing.”

read more | border fence resources

Tougher border enforcement leads to more undocumented immigration

July 19, 2010

This excellent article yesterday’s Washington Post describes how increased border enforcement activities have led to increased numbers of migrants staying in the U.S. without documentation:

More than 670 miles of border fences, walls, bollards and spikes that Congress decreed in 2006 at an estimated cost of $4 billion (plus future maintenance) are almost completed.

Throw in [...] the countless other expenses associated with border security, and the bill runs us nearly $10 billion a year.

With increasing border enforcement, workers who used to shuttle between jobs in California or Texas and home in Zacatecas or Michoacán simply began to stay put and sent for their families, becoming permanent, if sometimes reluctant, residents.

For the long term, immigration scholars [...] argue that in order to deter illegal immigration we should shift funding from ever-tighter border control to collaborative efforts to bolster Mexican infrastructure and economic development. [...] the economic aid the European Union provided to Spain and Portugal when it admitted those countries [...] seems to have effectively reversed the flow of immigrants from those nations to the rest of Western Europe.

Read more | Border resources | Immigration resources

National Guard on the Border: Faith Groups Respond

June 4, 2010

Tim Hoover/MCC

On Wednesday, 20 faith groups sent a letter to President Obama, expressing their dismay with his recent decision to send 1,200 National Guard Troops to the U.S.-Mexico border:

As national faith-based organizations dedicated to serving and advocating on behalf of immigrants, we write today with deep disappointment and frustration over your recent decision to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. This is another step toward an enforcement-only strategy and away from comprehensive immigration reform. We urge the administration, rather than further militarizing the border, to work toward long-term solutions to reform our broken immigration system and to address the root causes of migration.

Read the full letter.

‘Secure the Border!’

May 25, 2010

Tammy Alexander writes about the US/Mexico border for Third Way Cafe:

Tim Hoover/MCC

Its closure didn’t make the national news. It’s not a place that many from northern states have visited. But the Sabal Palm Sanctuary is a special place indeed.

Two years ago I had the pleasure of visiting the sanctuary, located outside Brownsville, Texas, at the eastern edge of the U.S. border with Mexico. As I walked down one of the trails, spotting magnificently colored birds, a woman next to me remarked on how she remembered coming to Sabal Palm 40 years ago as a child in elementary school and how it had left such a big impression on her.

School groups came to the sanctuary as part of its Nature of Learning science program. The program was aligned with state education standards and had a focus on reaching underserved youth in the community. In an era of school budget cuts and shrinking opportunities, such programs are vitally needed.

Click here to read the rest of the article.


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