These are our thoughts on the proposed border wall projects in Pima and Cochise County, and are endorsed by alliance4action which has more than 500 members in Green Valley and Sahuarita.

We are opposed to the proposed border barrier project to replace existing vehicle and pedestrian barriers on the Arizona-Mexico border with a new bollard for the following reasons.

First, Department of Defense officials have said $1.5 billion would be used in four fencing projects on nearly 80 miles of US-Mexico border. The proposed projects will neither deter northbound migrants nor lesson existing traffic patterns and the dollars could be used to make the immigration process so much better than it is now. These funds could be used more productively for the government to streamline the processing of migrants and to cut the current backlog in our courts. Spending on educating personnel and legal help is needed to assist them in this process. We must focus on treating migrant families and individuals fairly and humanely and realize a wall is not going to stop people who are fleeing from horrific conditions in their countries. Allocating funds to improve conditions in the countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras is an area where spending dollars would make a difference in the numbers of people coming to this country and a far better use of dollars spent.

In addition, we feel that there will be many negative impacts to the environment and culture of the borderlands here in Southern Arizona if these projects are completed.

This country has not stood by the commitments made to the Native Americans throughout the history of our nation and now we want to cut the Tohono O’odham Nation in half. The Nation’s chairman, Edward D. Manuel, said a fortified wall “would divide our people, devastate the regional environment and ecosystem, and destroy sacred sites, all while failing to hold the flow of migrants and smugglers.”

The environment is also at risk as the Department of Homeland Security can now waive numerous environmental protection laws to build the wall. As a result, the projects could “move forward without meaningful environmental reviews and regardless of public input,” said Kevin Dahl, Arizona senior program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association.

Pedestrian fencing already runs on either side of the San Pedro River and if a mesh border wall is built there would most likely be flooding from the monsoon rains as debris builds up as it has in Lukeville and Nogales.

The proposed projects will be wasting billions of taxpayer dollars and will be ineffective and destructive to the environment. It is inhumane to continue the current treatment of the migrants arriving at our borders and these dollars could be used much more effectively! We want to go on record as opposing these border projects as a poor use of federal dollars spent at our borders.

Rick and Pam Irvin live in Green Valley and are members of alliance4action.

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