The surveyor's stakes marking the 150 ft “clearing zone” for Trump’s Border Fence appeared at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, TX, on Thursday, 20 July 2017, along with a work crew with chainsaws and heavy equipment. #FightNABAFight Photo: National Butterfly Center

By Jude Lieber
14 August 2017

(Liberty and Justice) – Marianna Trevino Wright: “This was a surreal moment for me, where reality is being denied, not only to me, but in the public realm, and the government has undertaken a campaign of deceit and deliberate misinformation.  People believe that this wall is going to be on the border.  They don’t know that residential communities, that holy grounds, religious sites and other places, public lands, are going to be effectively cut off from America … Armed federal agents on private property to make sure that their contractors are not deterred from doing the work they’ve been ordered to do … If you have a home or a business or a property within 25 miles of the border, you’re on notice now … we would not have access to our property.”

Marianna stopped workers from clearing land on private property 1.2 miles from the Rio Grande on 20 July 2017.  Chief Manuel Fontana informed her that US Customs and Border Protection can legally seize any private land within 25 miles of the border.

Efrén Olivares, Civil Rights Attorney: “The best way to resist against this abomination of a ‘border wall’ or a ‘border fence’ is to know what our rights are, so that when the government comes knocking on our door asking to take our land, we know what our rights are and how to defend them.  So, the very basic thing, if you take one thing from my few minutes here: I want you all to know that anyone who owns land that the government wants to condemn, they, the government, must provide written notice and a very precise description of the piece of land that they want to take from you, why they want to take it, because they can only take private property for ‘public use.’  So they need to explain that.” […]

Vicente González, US Congressman, Texas’s 15th District: “This is our America … Building a wall between Mexico and the United States will put us on the wrong side of history. The Amorite wall didn’t work.  The long walls of Athens didn’t work.  The Great Wall of China didn’t work. The wall of Berlin was a failure. And a wall along our border will be a tragic failure for the United States government.” [more]

Update: ACoE Invades South Texas

By Jude Lieber
6 August 2017

(Liberty and Justice) – We knew this was coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Trespassing on private soil, our own Army Corps of Engineers (ACoE) have begun clearing areas for the border wall. Rather than steal land legally through eminent domain, they have arrived without permission or notification.  Instead of cutting through ranchland, they have begun where it will hurt the most — nature preserves. The first location to fall beneath the saw, machete, and blade is a strip through the National Butterfly Center. Scientists had purchased the area from farmers and restored it with plant species vital to the survival of the threatened monarch butterfly. Now, only brown stubble remains. The wall will block the migration of thousands of land-based animals, cutting their territory in two.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says the region contains “a few remaining wild tropical cats like ocelots and jaguarundis. Ferruginous Pygmy-owl, Green jay, Elf Owl, Texas tortoise, Indigo snake and Mexican burrowing toad are also found in this region. Rare plants, especially in the cactus family like Albert’s black lace cactus, star cactus and Runyon’s cory cactus” still remain in the area, but “today, most of the region has been bulldozed, plowed or otherwise fallen victim to urbanization.”  Invaders from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the ACoE will now take away a large piece of the remaining wildlife habitat and sever migration lanes vital to the survival of these rare species.

To those who care nothing for plants or animals, this remains an egregious violation of property rights. Rather than follow legal channels, submitting the work to the Department of Justice, obtaining clearance, and providing notification to property owners, they have followed the plan of oil and gas developers throughout the country: build first, then settle the illegal construction in court. Sure there are lawsuits, payouts, and a protracted battle, but just as with pipelines such as the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline, the damage is done. There is no going back.

Soon the crews will move into neighboring Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge. The plans have been secretly assembled and will be implemented suddenly, without warning, to avoid an uprising like the one at Standing Rock. Congress has backed the venture with $20 million from taxpayers, so we are all responsible. [more]

ACoE Invades South Texas



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