The surveyor's stakes marking the 150 ft “clearing zone” for Trump’s Border Fence appeared at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, TX, on Thursday, July 20, along with a work crew with chainsaws and heavy equipment.
When Marianna Trevino Wright, executive director of the nonprofit center confronted them, the crew explained they were hired by the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection to remove trees and brush along a 1.2 mile road from the levee to the Rio Grande River; this is a private road, on private property, held by the North American Butterfly Association. About halfway down the road lay a big, white X marking the spot where engineers had taken a core soil sample to determine the suitability of this place for construction.
‘Bugs vs. Americans. Bugs lose.’
One short-sighted commentator’s glib response to the situation summarizes part of the ignorance surrounding everything at stake here. This isn’t all about the butterflies.
No permission was requested to enter the property or begin cutting down trees. The center was not notified of any roadwork, nor given the opportunity to review, negotiate or deny the workplan. Same goes for the core sampling of soils on the property, and the surveying and staking of a “clear zone” that will bulldoze 200,000 square feet of habitat for protected species like the Texas Tortoise and Texas Indigo, not to mention about 400 species of birds. The federal government had decided it will do as it pleases with our property, swiftly and secretly, in spite of our property rights and right to due process under the law.
Why should you care?
If you own property or value your Constitutional right to due process, you should be very concerned about the government doing entering property without permission or due process. Altering it. Destroying it. Coming onto it and killing creatures that live there with reckless indifference. Your home or property could be next.
If you think the “Border Fence” will stop illegal immigration, you are mistaken. The fence has gates and gaps every mile or so where people can pass through; so the fence is actually a FUNNEL, designed to direct those crossing into our country to areas where Border Patrol agents may more easily monitor and intercept traffic—that is, unless people use ladders or scale the fence on their own, which they do.
If you pay taxes, you should understand the Border Fence is not a solution to the problem of illegal immigration. It is a waste of tax dollars.
In this 38-mile length of fence the Trump Administration seeks to build, more than 30 million square feet of vegetation may be cleared. Some of this will be private land, such as ours, but some of it will be public land, like the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. These are YOUR lands.
These lands hold our history as a nation; our cultural history and natural history. They are home to our natural treasures and, in many cases, the last foothold for endangered species, like the Ocelot.
For this reason, the National Butterfly Center is taking a stand. We are joining dozens of private property owners in taking legal action against the efforts of the federal government to deprive us of our property rights.
If the federal government succeeds in tossing due process and usurping private property rights, all Americans lose.
The National Butterfly Center is a nonprofit environmental conservation and education project of the North American Butterfly Center. Members receive admission to the property, discounts on purchases in our gift shop and native plant nursery, and reciprocal admission benefits to almost 300 botanical gardens across the United States through our participation in the American Horticultural Association’s RAP. Members also receive NECTAR, our monthly e-newsletter.
Please help us preserve this land and the precious habitat and wildlife it contains!
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The 22nd Annual Texas Butterfly Festival is ready to receive you! Check out the new website with plenty of information about this very special event, the schedule, field trips and awesome guides! All trips and workshops have a limited number of seats on them, and several are only scheduled for ONE day. These always sell out first, so do not delay. If you have questions, please read the FAQs to see whether we've anticipated it; if we have not, please email email@example.com and allow 24 hours for us to respond.
We're looking forward to another fantastic festival, full of butterflies and friends, and we hope to see YOU there!