(Armadillo crossing the road. For more wildlife photos of South Texas by yours truly, click the photo.)
Of all the dumb and hostile things the U.S. government has done in the past few years, the construction of a fence along the Mexican border is the most pathetic. It’s a symbolic representation of our inability to think beyond knee-jerk, xenophobic, medieval solutions. Hate illegal immigration? Let’s build a wall! And not think about how immigrants can (and do) take boats across international waters. We’ll wait until that becomes overly problematic (decided arbitrarily, of course) — then put giant nets at sea, snagging their boats before they cross international boundary waters! Or, um, something...America, f yeah!.
Anyway, of course, an idea this bad is bound to have far more consequences than just making Americans look stupid. Its impact on nature (something that a lot of Americans don’t care about, especially if it means brown people will be in their country) is potentially devastating.
For those of you who think of South Texas as a dry, dusty place, it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s a wasteland. South Texas, in spite if its many problems, teems with biodiversity, and like all things wonderful and worth preserving in Texas, it transcends the border with Mexico; you can’t have one without the other.
The Sabal Palm Audubon Center is one of many areas that will be potentially damaged if the wall makes its way down to the mouth of the Rio Grande. This area, according to an article today in The New York Times, houses “rare birds of impossible colors… snakes…tortoises… and the occasional ocelot” (a gorgeous type of large feline). Not to mention native palm trees.
One of the guardians of the center, Jimmy Paz, is rightfully worried about the fence. From the Times:
“[Paz] says the Fence would create a twilight zone out of a swath of distinctive American soil, disrupt and damage wildlife and have the opposite of the intended effect: it will be the birders and other tourists — not the illegal immigrants — who stop coming. It may also put him out of a job.”