The president’s recent impeachment case highlighted his abuse of power in the realm of foreign policy, but there’s more. Now, The Intercept has revealed how Donald Trump’s border wall construction team is actually using dynamite on a mountain which “holds profound spiritual significance to multiple Native American groups” and is situated in Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the publication notes. That spiritual significance stems in part from the burial grounds at the site, where human remains have already been discovered and another site sits right in the line of prospective westward expansion for the wall — but none of these developments have apparent stopped the Trump administration’s politically expedient rush to construct more wall.
Besides the significance for local Native American communities, the protected area, which includes desert and other features, is also “a pristine example of an intact Sonoran Desert ecosystem,” and, as such, is an officially designated UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve.
Local Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva commented:
‘It’s been really frustrating. You would think that in a situation like this, that involves human remains, burial sites, bone fragments that are traced and dated a thousand years or more back, that there would be some sensitivity, for lack of a better word, on the part of DHS and the administration. There is none.’
Their lack of sensitivity also threatens elements of the local environment like migrating rare species and Quitobaquito Springs, which sports fresh water. The administration’s team has already been “draining water from a rare desert aquifer in order to mix concrete,” and they’ve also “uprooted saguaro cacti, slicing the iconic plants into chunks and bulldozed a wide roadway to make room for trucks, cranes, and other construction vehicles.”
The entire gross display is directly tied to Trump’s attempts to secure a win for the 2020 election.
As Grijalva noted:
‘What’s particularly frightening right now is that Trump has weaponized DHS, politically weaponized them. And so right now, it’s about satisfying that political agenda.’
The president has set a goal of constructing 450 miles of wall before the end of 2020, although much of that has proven to be replacements for older fencing — and some of the construction hasn’t exactly gone so well, considering the recent incident where a large portion of the barrier fell over into Mexico during a period of high winds. There have also been reported incidents of border crossers already sawing right through some of the new construction, which rather than a “wall” in the most traditional sense, features steel beams filled with a concrete-like mixture suspended between a top and a bottom panel.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, for their part, say that the blasting at Monument Hill — which is the name of the particular targeted Arizona mountain — “is targeted and will continue intermittently for the rest of the month.” They added that they’ll continue relying on the services of an environmental impact monitor, but Grijalva was among those with serious doubts about the actual relevance and assistance of that figure.
Trump has founded his push for a wall, which he requested large amounts of additional funding for in his latest budget proposal, on complete lies about security threats from immigrant communities, and complicit Republican members of Congress have helped enable the situation.