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Texas border wall plans spark protest over potential threat to grave sites, environment


MISSION, Texas (CIRCA via KGBT) -- As construction equipment for the border wall begins to move into the Rio Grande Valley, one group is making its voice heard in response to the preparation.

Christopher Basaldu is one of the members of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas who led a march to the National Butterfly Center to express their stance.

Basaldu says the tribe is concerned proposed construction could "damage ancestral graves or grave sites or damage ancestral villages. We don't want to see walls going through sacred sites."

However, U.S. Border Patrol says it's looking into such concerns before any contractors can break ground.

"At this time, we're currently analyzing the results from our environmental, cultural and historical surveys that took place last month,” said Agent Jason Montemayor, special operations supervisor of the Rio Grande Valley wall project delivery team.

Montemayor said cultural and historical surveys will assist in discovering any sensitive artifacts or remains and adds that any discoveries will be properly handled and preserved.

The same also goes for environmental elements.

“If we do find endangered species, we do have an environmentalist that will let us know how to properly resolve those issues whether we have to mark them off or relocate,” said Montemayor. “Or we'll figure out a proper determination on what to do.”

The equipment will be stored on federal property, which will be used for 5.4 miles of the border wall system.

The project will begin just west of Chimney Park in Mission and connect into existing levee wall that is in Abram.

"Once we analyze that data and process it thoroughly, we'll get a better understanding when the actual start date will begin,” said Montemayor.

It’s a process the tribe hopes to be part of.

"The tribe wishes to be consulted on any infrastructure project that is going to potentially damage sacred sites or ancestral sites,” said Basaldu.


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