Build Bridges Not Walls Act introduced in Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On February 2, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham introduced the “Build Bridges Not Walls Act,” (H.R. 837) which would prohibit the implementation of President Trump’s executive order to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border

“The people who know the border the best, whether it’s companies or lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, border communities, trade groups, economists, and law enforcement officials, all agree that building a wall is unnecessary, impractical, ineffective, and a complete waste of time and taxpayer money,” said Rep. Lujan Grisham. “This bill protects taxpayers by stopping the funding for a wall that is not needed and from any other attempts by the President to fund similar orders.”

The United States already maintains approximately 650 miles of border fence in areas that most effectively stop the unauthorized entry of people, vehicles, drugs, arms, and illicit items.

  • A border wall would likely harm wildlife, destroy sensitive habitat for endangered species, damage the environment and the natural flow of floodwaters, and lead to costly litigation with landowners, the Native American community, and stakeholders.
  • Harsh terrain and conditions along remote parts of the United States-Mexico border make the construction of a “mere speed bump in the desert” very costly.
  • The construction of a border wall will cost between $15 billion to $25 billion, not including additional maintenance costs.

Rep. Lujan Grisham added, “The only person this wall really benefits is President Trump by furthering his isolationist, divisive, and anti-immigrant agenda.”

The “Build Bridges Not Wall Act” is co-sponsored by 71 members of Congress, endorsed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and supported by advocacy and environmental organizations.

Representative Will Hurd TX-R-23 is not yet a co-sponsor of the legislation. The Gazette has contacted his office seeking comment.

Brent Wilkes, National Executive Director, LULAC:

“At a time when we need the country to come together, President Trump is using every measure at his disposal to advance a radical anti-immigrant, anti-Latino, and anti-border agenda. The wall is a waste of tax-payer money and does little to actually tackle the complexities of border security. It divides communities, harms the environment, and threatens the economic, social, and cultural ties between the United States and Mexico. We should be building bridges of understanding between different cultures, not walls, and this legislation will stop this radical agenda in its tracks by prohibiting the use of any taxpayer dollars for the construction of the border wall.”

Mark Magaña, President, GreenLatinos:

GreenLatinos supports the Building Bridges Not Walls Act, introduced by Rep. Lujan Grisham – which will stop the President’s onerous, wasteful, ineffective, and inhumane Executive Order to build a wall the entire length of our southern border with Mexico.  The border wall proposal threatens our environment and puts the health and welfare of many communities along our border in jeopardy.  To focus billions of dollars of our valuable taxpayer money and resources on an ineffective infrastructure like the President’s proposed border wall goes against our basic values as Americans, and must be stopped.

Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club:

“This proposed border wall would be a costly, ugly monument to Donald Trump’s ego that will cause flooding, harm border communities and disrupt wildlife, all while not even doing what Trump intends. The Sierra Club is in solidarity with immigrants and all those threatened by the Trump Administration, and proud to support this effort to Build Bridges, Not Walls. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham’s legislation offers a smart, compassionate and effective counterpoint that aims to bring communities together, not tear families apart.”

Raul Garcia, Earthjustice Legislative Counsel, Earthjustice:

“The cost of President Trump’s border wall is unconscionable, extending well beyond the hefty $12 to $25 billion price tag. The real costs will be at the expense of border and immigrant communities, including the healthy and vibrant environment they deserve. It’s justified by fiction, relying on the notion that our neighbors have somehow become our enemies and that our border communities must become militarized zones. The Build Bridges Not Walls Act by Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham stands up for these communities and their environment. It makes sure that the ill-conceived idea of a border wall driven by the fear peddlers in the White House never becomes a reality.”

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