About Our Program
U.S. policies along our southern border are proving ineffective, costly, and harmful to people and the environment. Construction of border walls has not curbed migration but has cost taxpayers an average of $4.5 million per mile.
More than 650 miles of border walls and barriers have been constructed in all four southern border states. The authority given to the Secretary of Homeland Security by the Real ID Act has been used to waive federal laws along the border so that walls, roads, and other harmful infrastructure are built without regard to environmental protection or public health and safety.
This reckless project has meant dire consequences for vast expanses of pristine wild lands, including wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, and national forest lands, among others. Several species of wildlife have been observed and photographed stranded by the border wall, suggesting that many threatened and endangered species are suffering the same fate.
The border wall has also had devastating consequences for communities along the border. In Nogales, Sonora the wall contributed to severe flooding that buried downtown homes and businesses underneath six feet of water, drowning two people and costing millions of dollars in damages. Condemnation proceedings against border municipalities and landowners in Texas led to a wall that blocks people and animals from access to the Rio Grande River. The greatest human toll of the wall is the thousands of migrants that have lost their lives as the border wall funnels them deeper and deeper into harsh and remote terrain.
The Sierra Club takes a strong stance against policies that promote environmental degradation. We are seeking to restore and protect the borderlands that have been damaged by failed border policies. Along with allies in Congress, we are seeking the repeal of the waiver authority granted by section 102 of the REAL ID Act. While the Sierra Club remains neutral on immigration, we have never been neutral on environmental destruction. The Sierra Club supports rational and transparent border policies rather than adhering to symbolic mandates to construct walls.
It is clear that undocumented immigration is not a problem that can be solved at the border. Without a comprehensive effort to address the root causes of immigration, migrants will continue risking their lives to cross the borderlands and the wildlife and wildlands found along the border will continue to suffer.