Saturday, July 05, 2008


Protest the Border Wall
University of Texas-Pan American

July 12, 2008

What: A protest opposing the Border Wall.

When: Saturday, July 12, 2008 at 5:00 PM

Where: Rally at the University of Texas-Pan American Student Ballroom, located on the Southwest corner of the campus (University Dr & Sugar Rd), next to the University Center.

Parking: No parking permits are required on weekends. There will be plenty of free parking. Parking Lot B-1 is right next to the Student Center/Ballroom.

What to Bring: We have signs, banners and percussion instruments to share, but please feel free to bring your own. Walking shoes, water, strollers and umbrellas are also recommended. Most of all, bring your family and friends!

Event Schedule: Saturday’s activities will begin at 5:00 PM with a RALLY at the Student Ballroom. Our invited speakers will address the crowd from 5:15 until 6:00. We will then march to the Hidalgo County Courthouse Parking Square (corner of Closer and Cano).

At the Courthouse Parking Square, members of the community will have an opportunity to speak out against the border wall. Comments will be videotaped, and a DVD of the comments will be given to the Hidalgo County Commissioners and will be made available to the press.

The Hidalgo County Commissioners, led by Hidalgo County Judge JD Salinas, have allowed incorporating the border wall into the county’s flood control levees. Construction of this levee/border wall is being done during the area's peek hurricane season.

This protest is meant to raise local and national awareness of the vast opposition to the border wall because of its potential to divide border communities, destroy homes and farms, devastate unique ecosystems, damage border economies, and undermine our flood control levees. Also of concern is the impact the border wall will have on the border area’s relationship with Mexico. Many view the border wall as racist because no corresponding wall is being built on the Canadian border.

In Hidalgo County, the border wall is being linked to levee repairs. While no one in the Valley disputes the fact that our levees need repair, allowing the Department of Homeland Security to take them over and make them into a border wall is a terrible idea. There have been no studies on the safety, effectiveness, and environmental impact of a combination levee/border wall.

According to the No Border Wall Coalition, repairing of our levees could require only a few feet of earth and caliche in many places, while the levee/wall project calls for a solid 16-foot wall of concrete, the costs of which will ultimately be borne by Valley taxpayers.

Initial estimates that the levee/border wall would cost $5 million per mile have now ballooned to $12 million per mile. Based on recent bids, Hidalgo County will be responsible for paying over $200 million of the construction costs, rather than the original estimate of $48 million.

Rather than providing flood control, repairing the levees has become a means for the Department of Homeland Security to build piecemeal border walls that do not match up with the sections of our levees that are in need of repair.

The costs go beyond monetary for this region. DHS has initiated condemnation proceedings against hundreds of private landowners along the border. U.S. homes, farms, ranches, and businesses lie either in the path of the wall or on land that will be behind it, cut off from the rest of this country.

Along the Rio Grande, a natural border in and of itself, farmers and ranchers could be prevented from accessing irrigation water. The border wall is set to go through and literally divide the campus of the University of Texas in Brownsville. Firefighters and emergency crews will have difficulty reaching homes and people on the south side of the wall. Our community will be divided, not just from Mexico, but from neighbors and from free access to the river.

The levee-border wall will also do tremendous damage to the environment of the Rio Grande Valley. The first two sections of combined levee/border wall will bisect parts of the Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge. They will destroy habitat that is critical to the endangered species and migratory birds, which now brings in over $125 million in ecotourism to this area every year.

Please join our protest!