President Donald Trump is determined to have a permanent wall that will separate the United States from Mexico and prevent entry of illegal immigrants and drug traffickers. He wants the Mexico Border Wall for the good of America, but there are apprehensions that the nearly 3000-mile wall will play havoc on the environment because it will snatch away the natural habitats of wild animals.

Planning for the wall

New York Times reports that the Mexico border wall that has been proposed by Donald Trump would need huge investments and Congress has yet to make provisions for the same.

However, preparatory work has been taken up, and officials are interacting with the Customs and Border Protection to decide on the proposed route because of obstructions in the form of natural barriers like rivers apart from human settlements.

According to a treaty between the United States and Mexico, the construction of a wall or levee in the Rio Grande floodplain is not allowed. Therefore, the wall would have to cut across private properties and carve out a path through major wildlife refuges which would have an adverse effect on the environment. Of course, the officials have indicated that the proposed route can be finalized only after the funds are allotted in the federal budget for 2018 and physical work cannot commence till then but, the planning can be done.

In view of possible unrest from private landowners whose land might be taken over to build the wall, the work could begin on federal land and the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge near the city of Alamo might be the choice. Soil samples have been collected to check suitability.

Threat to the environment

Santa Ana Refuge occupied an area of 2000-plus acre area and was established in 1943.

It is one of the most popular bird-watching destinations in America, and thousands of visitors arrive here annually. The locals depend on them to a great extent, and the Mexico border wall will affect the economy and also devastate the environment and ecological balance of the region which is a natural habitat for birds and butterflies.

In the opinion of Ken Merritt, a former federal Fish and Wildlife Service official who was associated with the Refuge for over a decade, if an 18-foot-high wall passes through the refuge, it will destroy the habitats. The Rio Grande Valley is a major bird migration corridor and the last remaining habitat for ocelots which is on the list of endangered species. The wall, will hamper free movement of the ocelot and other wildlife and threaten their survival.

President Donald Trump wants the wall to check drug smugglers, but an 18-foot-high wall will not be a deterrent to them because they can use a ladder to climb over. As to illegal immigrants, recent reports in the media show that those who are determined to enter the US will use alternate methods like vehicles. Hence, the administration could reconsider the decision of building a wall.