Posted by: jblevins | May 16, 2008

PCUSA Calls Our Attention to the Border Fence

Today is Endangered Species Day, and it brings out an interesting issue before people of faith concerned about God’s Creation – the building of the border fence. With a provision in the Real ID Act, Congress granted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the right to waive over 35 environmental laws in order to complete the border fence, one DHS put into place on April 1st. These laws include the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Eagle Protection Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.

Leslie Woods of the Washington Office of the Presbyterian Church USA, writes in the May 12th Witness in Washington update, “Most people in the U.S. have heard about the construction of hundreds of miles of fences and walls along the U.S.-Mexico border. Few, however, understand what devastating consequences such a barrier will have for all the inhabitants of the dessert, not just those seeking to cross it in order to find work in the U.S. The jaguar, the ocelot, the gray wolf – unusual faces on the banners of the immigration debate.”

Other people of faith have also been weighing in on the issue – click here to read from the Mennonite Church, and here to read from the Religious Action Center for Reformed Judaism.

This is certainly true. We are called to protect endangered species when in Proverbs is says to “Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute.” (Proverbs 31:8, NRSV). This passage calls us to speak out for endangered species. All of creation has been given the right to fruitfulness and to existence, and we are called to be stewards of that.

It is a dangerous, disturbing precedent to allow one government agency to completely ignore laws passed by the U.S. Congress, and will cause irreparable damage to fragile ecosystems where shrinking populations of species struggle already to survive. Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) has proposed H.R. 2593, the Borderlands Conservation and Security Act of 2007 in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would:

  • Require compliance with laws meant to protect the air, water, wildlife, culture, and the health and safety of people in borderland communities.
  • Give land management agencies, Native American tribes, and local communities a voice in border construction and decision-making.
  • Provide experts at DHS the ability to decide whether fences, vehicle barriers, or virtual fences would be most effective in securing the border.
  • Provide resources to help mitigate damage to borderland wildlife and resources.

Click here to send a message to your Member of Congress and urge them to support HR 2593, and celebrate Endangered Species Day by working to protect them.



  1. […] fence. With a provision in the Real ID Act, Congress granted the Department of Homeland Security proclaims Endangered Species Day The Rhinelander Daily NewsGovernor Jim Doyle proclaimed […]

  2. There is another endangered species invovled here: the United States of American worker. Until and unless nations respect laws of other nations it will be necessary to create barriers to those who flaunt national sovereignty. This issue merely points out the unworkability of the pelthora of laws that are passed at the whim of government and special interest, which are inevitably bound to conflict.

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