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Pro-democracy groups in West Virginia urging support for the "For the People Act;" the debate rages on over Michigan's proposed trans sports ban.


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A House bill pushing states on permit-to-purchase handgun laws aims to cut gun violence; HUD Secretary announces nearly $5B in rental assistance; and record numbers of asylum seekers turned back from U.S. are seeking sanctuary in Mexico.

Biden to Decide Future of Trump's Border Wall

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Construction of a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico has hampered the natural migration of wildlife, including the Mexican gray wolf, bighorn sheep, ringtail cats, ocelot and jaguar. (wiki.org)
Construction of a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico has hampered the natural migration of wildlife, including the Mexican gray wolf, bighorn sheep, ringtail cats, ocelot and jaguar. (wiki.org)
 By Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM - Producer, Contact
November 16, 2020

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- President-elect Joe Biden has said there will not be another foot of wall constructed along the border between the U-S and Mexico when he takes office in January.

Bryan Bird with Defenders of Wildlife says that will be a change for the better for animal migration at the border and for intercontinental wildlife known to move back and forth from the U-S to Mexico in search of resources and habitat. He says the Trump administration hasn't built a lot of new border wall, but has instead replaced roughly 400 miles of vehicle barriers.

"They were able to replace a lot of vehicle barriers with impenetrable pedestrian barriers, which are terrible for wildlife," Bird asserted. "So, there has been enormous damage done to the border, especially in Arizona and New Mexico."

Bird says previous barriers were only about four-feet high, and animals could pass under or over them, but new wall is 30-feet tall.

The Trump administration argued the wall border was needed to stop illegal immigration. Biden has said he'll make sure sure border protection is in place, but rather than a wall, high-tech capacity will be used at ports of entry.

Bird believes activists who worked hard to prevent construction of the wall will now begin a "tear down the wall" campaign.

But he's also concerned much more of the wall could be built before next year's presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20.

"Customs and Border Protection is furiously working to complete the impenetrable wall across our southern border," Bird observed. "They're working day and night, regardless of the coronavirus, to finish it."

Bird is optimistic the incoming administration will consider taking down part of the wall, not only where it's having negative impacts on wildlife, but also where Native American cultural sites have been destroyed during the wall's construction.

While Trump promised Mexico would pay for the wall, it has not. Instead, U.S. taxpayers have paid $15 billion dollars so far.

Disclosure: Defenders of Wildlife contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species and Wildlife, Energy Policy, Environment, and Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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