Rep. Cuellar Secures Language in Democratic Proposal to Prevent Wall Funding in Protected Areas along the Border
Democratic package includes provisions prohibiting the use of funds for wall construction in Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, La Lomita Historical Park, National Butterfly Center, and SpaceX Launch Site
WASHINGTON— Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Committee and a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee and Subcommittees of Homeland Security, Defense and Agriculture, announced that he added language in the fiscal year 2019 Democratic border security proposal prohibiting the use of funds from this and prior year Acts to construct physical barriers in the following locations:
· Within or north of the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge;
· Within or north of the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park;
· Within or north of La Lomita Historical Park;
· Within, south of, or north of the National Butterfly Center; or
· Within, north of, or east of the Vista del Mar Ranch tract of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, SpaceX.
“This is a big win for South Texas,” said Congressman Cuellar. “I worked hard to include this language because I know we can secure the border in a much more effective way, and at a fraction of the cost, by utilizing advanced technology and increasing the agents and properly equipping them on the border.”
“I have been outspoken against President Trump’s wall because as someone who lives on the border, I understand firsthand that a massively expensive wall is nothing more than a 14th Century solution to a 21st Century challenge. I speak with constituents, landowners, and law enforcement professionals regularly and we all know that this is an ineffective use of taxpayer dollars.”
“I would like to thank Congressmen Vela and Gonzalez for working with me on this language. In addition, I would like to thank Chairwomen Lowey, Roybal-Allard, and Speaker Pelosi for including these important provisions in the proposal.”
Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
Federally protected habitat for the endangered ocelot and Gulf Coast jaguarundi, which was originally slated by the Trump Administration as the starting point for the wall. Rep. Cuellar also helped secure a similar provision in last year’s appropriations bill to prohibit wall funding in or around the refuge.
The Democratic funding package includes provisions prohibiting the use of funds for its construction in Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, a protected area that have been set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plant resources in the Congressman’s district that attract tourists from around the world.
National Butterfly Center
The National Butterfly Center is home to a 100-acre wildlife center and botanical garden that borders the Rio Grande River and is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lower Rio Grande Valley Wildlife Corridor. According to the North American Butterfly Association (NABA), the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas has the most diverse butterfly and bird fauna of any area of the United States.
La Lomita is a Catholic chapel, built in 1899 in Mission, and is a tourist attraction because of its rich history as a site where Calvary of Christ missionaries performed baptisms, marriages, and funerals. When the City of Mission, Texas was founded in 1908, the city was named “Mission” in honor of La Lomita Chapel. Now, La Lomita Chapel is a religious shrine and a favorite site of historians that provides a glimpse into an important part of the history of Mission and South Texas in general.
The Vista del Mar Ranch tract of land of the lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, intended to be home to a SpaceX commercial spaceport, stands in the path of President Trump’s border wall plans. The land is a launch site still under construction in Boca Chica Village, a small community between the border town of Brownsville and the Gulf Coast.
Please see link to Democratic border security proposal here.
Watch Congressman Cuellar speak at the conference committee here.