Activists and federal officials squared off near Lukeville Wednesday over the construction of a new border wall as part of the Trump administration’s plan to build 450 miles of the new barrier by Election Day.
"They haven't completed the requisite studies, haven't talked to the tribal chairman, haven't consulted with (U.S.) Fish and Wildlife Service," said Laiken Jordahl, with the Center for BioDiversity. "It's completely ignorant and unverifiable."
Members of the Tohono O’odham Nation claim border wall construction is damaging ancient burial sites, ground that is considered sacred by the tribe.
While Border Patrol was blasting sacred sites yesterday, @NRDems held a hearing that uplifted tribal voices and concerns.— Raul M. Grijalva (@RepRaulGrijalva) February 27, 2020
The Trump Administration has not concern for the cultural heritage of Native American communities. https://t.co/yNjMiHv0kl #HonorTheSacred #NoBorderWall
Tribal and ecological concerns, although covered prodigiously by the media, only represent one side of the story.
Criminal elements involved in drug and human trafficking dominate Tohono O’odham Nation lands. With over 60 miles of southern border with Mexico, the remoteness of the area makes it prime smuggling grounds.
Residents of the territory are forced to choose between fear and complicity. Many succumb to the draw of cartel money given the abject poverty that plagues the area. Some turn to drugs to cope with desolate living conditions.
No one is immune — that is unless a wall is built to stop the traffic.
The Tohono O’odham Nation is about the size of Connecticut, and comprises more than 60 miles of the border with Mexico.— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) February 26, 2020
We must #BuildTheWall in order to stop the influx of drugs, criminals, and weapons across this exploited area of our border. pic.twitter.com/wWJ5j9oZPW
Committee Dems can attempt to sugarcoat the reality, but the Tohono O'odham reservation has been dealing with a silent crisis. With no barriers at the border, cartels have taken advantage of their land and tribe. Establishing a border wall would protect them and others. pic.twitter.com/Y0cXx4HNVp— Natural Resources GOP (@NatResources) February 26, 2020