But scientists and environmentalists have been warning about the potential negative environmental effects, like restricted animal movement and plant pollination, of a border wall for over a decade, since President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006. When Donald Trump started discussing the construction of a full-scale border wall during his presidential campaign, those concerns resurfaced.
In September 2016, Sergio Avila-Villegas, a conservation scientist at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, told BBC’s Science in Action team that “Border infrastructure not only blocks the movement of wildlife, but… destroys the habitats, fragments the habitats and the connectivity that these animals use to move from one place to another.”
George Frisvold, a professor at the University of Arizona who specializes in environmental policy, said that politically speaking, a border wall “gives this false impression that you’re actually doing something, but it has this political attraction because it’s completely ineffective” in preventing problems associated with immigration. Environmentally, he said, “Any time you’re going to put big structures along the border, and usually it isn’t just the structure out there by itself — you have to have some sort of access road for people to go get to it, so you’re going to be tearing up natural habitat with structures and roads, and that’s going to be disruptive.”
Mark Magana, the president of GreenLatinos, said he sees Latinos, especially millennials, becoming more involved in the environmental rights movement. He said many Latinos were raised to be cultural conservationists. “[We] grew up respecting, conserving, reusing, re-purposing, being very respectful for what we have,” he said. “And that is not because I read about it or…I claim to be an environmentalist. It’s because that’s what our grandmother taught us…You know, ‘Don’t turn on the air conditioning. Reuse that piece of aluminum foil…Eat every part of the animal…Find a way to fix that.’