Environmentalists call for a permanent stop to border wall construction

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Crews look forward to getting back to work

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CORONADO NATIONAL MEMORIAL, Arizona (Border Report) — Laiken Jordahl has significantly cut down on his almost-daily visits to the southern border between Mexico and Arizona, where work on the border wall recently came to a halt.

He’s not a construction worker, but an employee with the Center for Biological Diversity who has been observing the wall’s development almost from the beginning.

“We have to restore all these places that have been destroyed, stopping construction alone is not enough,” Jordahl said. “Every day the wall stays up in those places, it is contributing to extinction. We have to restore all that Trump has destroyed, we have an obligation to do that.”

The Trump administration always maintained the wall was critical for national security and for decreasing the rate of human and drug smuggling.

The Border Patrol would not comment on the work stoppage nor the effectiveness of the wall, but in the past, it has said the wall helps agents do their jobs.

Portion of border fence placed in Arizona along the U.S. – Mexico border. (Courtesy: Laiken Jordahl/Center for Biological Diversity)

Currently, border officials are referring all media inquiries to the White House, which has not responded to Border Report’s questions about the border wall’s future.

Jordahl would like for President Joe Biden to make permanent the halt in construction, something that will be reviewed in two months.

Off-camera, a project supervisor for one of the contractors said they plan on “honoring” their contracts with the federal government and hope to get back to work in two months.

“If Biden lets these contracts play out, we will see the border wall ripping through the entire Huachuca Mountain Range, sealing off a pathway for endangered jaguars, ocelots and other wildlife. Every contract has a termination clause, they can cancel any time,” he said.

Jordahl says he understands money will have to be paid out to demobilize crews, but he says in the long run, it will be good for the environment and taxpayers.

“The Army Corps of Engineers has said by making it permanent it could save taxpayers $3 billion.”

Along with stopping the work and starting the restoration process, Jordahl says immigration reform would eliminate the “perceived” need for a border wall.

“We need a real solution that actually helps people feel safe along the border and helps people practice their right to migrate,” Jordahl said. “Families who walk across Mexico and show up at our southern border are not doing it because they want to, nobody wants to risk their lives.”

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