• September 17, 2021

Exclusive: Community celebrates termination of two border wall contracts

 Exclusive: Community celebrates termination of two border wall contracts

While the Biden administration had in June announced that it would be returning more than $2 billion that the previous administration had swindled from military funds for its stupid and racist wall, the two soon-to-be-cancelled contracts “were funded with DHS fiscal year 2020 appropriations,” CNN reported.

“The contracts worth $564M—more than $18M per mile—would have destroyed the city landmarks of Las Palmas Nature Trail and Riverbend, parts of Laredo College, the downtown Tres Laredos Park, small businesses, private homes, family ranches, and many other iconic river sites,” #NoBorderWall Coalition continued. Environmental activists had previously called the damage inflicted by this stupid project, “incalculable.” 

The administration had said in its announcement last month that it would be using appropriated funds “to address urgent life, safety, and environmental issues” stemming from wall construction. In its Friday statement, DHS said the administration “intends to engage in environmental planning concerning these barrier projects, including taking certain actions consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other statues.”

Ecstatic community leaders told Border Report that they hoped that two other contracts negotiated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the region also end up on the chopping block. Advocates said those contracts total $484 million and would “destroy an additional 40 river miles that extend from the Colombia International Bridge to El Pico Rd, as well as the northern reach of Zapata County and historic San Ygnacio.”

“It’s a tremendous amount of money that they wanted to waste for an ineffective, destructive wall that would threaten our life, our property, our culture. We weren’t going to accept it,” Rio Grande International Study Center’s Melissa Cigarroa told Border Report. “But our community, our organization, our people would not accept it. It was so counter to our way of life and to what we live every day. There is no disaster. There is no danger.”

Making that point were the Rio Grande Valley counties that refused to be a part of the Republican governor’s very serious border emergency declaration.

In a tweet, #NoBorderWall Coalition said Friday’s announcement “directly contradicts the ‘disaster’ narrative that Gov. Greg Abbott is using against Laredo and other border communities to launch his reelection campaign, and which Webb County Judge Tijerina joined for possible state taxpayer dollars to fill county coffers.” Educator Dr. Sylvia Dominguez said the “’disaster’ narrative is a fantasy, and clearly refuted by the facts,” the group continued.

Abbott has since announced his own plan to complete some of the previous president’s wall. He’s so into copying that bill he’s also forcing some of that bill onto taxpayers. He also promised “transparency and accountability” in crowdfunding for further funds, but “Abbott’s office is not disclosing the locations of donors, nor is it requiring that they identify themselves with their real names,” The Texas Tribune reported. “The shortcomings in the donation disclosures have raised ethical concerns about the private fundraising effort for the governor’s major state initiative.”

“DHS continues to review all other paused border barrier projects and is in the process of determining which projects may be necessary to address life, safety, environmental, or other remediation requirements and where to conduct environmental planning,” Friday’s announcement from the administration continued.

“We continue to call on @POTUS to terminate remaining construction contracts across the border region, and we demand that @DHSgov rescind its waivers issued under the REAL ID Act. We also urge officials to prioritize remediation of border ecosystems damaged by wall construction,” #NoBorderWall Coalition continued. “As always, shout out to all the organizers and volunteers who tirelessly contributed to our growing movement! Stay tuned for more …”

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Reporters Team

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