Past Features

February 16, 2016

Texas Fence Threatens Wildlife!
Newsweek creative writing on display

Map produced by American Border Patrol shows Newsweek story to be pure fiction.
See Larger Map
Newsweek-- February 14, 2016 
The Environmental Impact of the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall
    A line of 18-foot-tall steel posts placed four inches apart cuts like a scar across the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge near McAllen, Texas. It's a stretch of a barrier extending intermittently across 650 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border from California to Texas, and presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio vow to enlarge it if elected. The barrier is intended to deter illegal immigration and smuggling. Whether it has achieved those aims remains unclear, but what is clear in this part of Texas is that sections of the barrier bisect and isolate public and private lands, threatening to decimate wildlife habitats and leaving communities on both sides of the border that rely on wildlife tourism to wither. [...]
    Because this part of the Rio Grande bends, twists and tends to flood, the barrier doesn't follow the actual border. It sits as far as several miles north of it in many places and often marches straight where the river turns. As a result, land throughout the valley ended up on the Mexican side of the barrier, including private homes; a former Audubon Society sanctuary near Brownsville, Texas; parts of several state Wildlife Management Areas; and significant portions of three national wildlife refuges, including the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Laguna Atascosa and Santa Ana refuges.
    The barrier affects as much as 70 percent of the valley's three national wildlife refuges. For now, openings remain between sections of the barrier, and some species seem to have figured that out; bobcats have been tracked moving around the fence, often several times a day. “Working on the assumption that animals travel as much as they need to but not more, this suggests something is compelling them to use both sides, even if it means walking an extra kilometer to go around this barrier,” says U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) biologist Hilary Swarts. Close the openings and the cats lose access to whatever it is they need on the other side.

Glenn Spencer -- American Border Patrol
Pure Fiction
    When Congress passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006, it specified the construction of 700 miles of fence --- and it stated where the fence should be constructed.
    For the part of the fence along the Rio Grande it made sense to build it atop the existing flood control levee. -- See this ... and this.
    We all know that the fence was never finished --- and why.
    In 2014, ABP did an aerial survey of the fence around McAllen, Texas.
    We found that most of the levee near McAllen had no fence whatsoever, and gates designed to control access to the river area were never installed.
    Newsweek wrote: "A line of 18-foot-tall steel posts placed four inches apart cuts like a scar across the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge near McAllen, Texas.”
    This is pure fiction.