2010 Scorecard Vote
Nearly one-third of the 1,950 mile United States-Mexico border lies within military, tribal, and public lands, including wilderness areas, national wildlife refuges, national parks, national forests, national monuments, and state parks. Much of this country's most magnificent and imperiled wildlife -- including jaguars, ocelot, bighorn sheep, Sonoran pronghorn, and hundreds of bird species -- depend upon these public lands for intact habitat. Local communities also rely on access to protected natural areas for clean water, recreation, economic development, and high quality of life.
The 2005 REAL ID Act included a controversial provision that gives the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unprecedented authority to waive all federal, state, and local laws to construct border barriers and walls, bypassing legal compliance and important public processes fundamental to America's democratic principles. Former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff invoked this authority on several occasions, including most egregiously in April 2008 when he waived 35 federal public health, safely, environmental, and cultural laws along 500 miles of the United States-Mexico border. As a result, hundreds of miles of walls and accompanying roads have been constructed in an environmentally-destructive fashion, causing damaging floods and erosion, fracturing habitat and migration corridors that are vital to maintaining healthy wildlife populations, separating local communities, and wasting taxpayer dollars through poor and rushed planning.
During consideration of H.R. 4899, the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) made a motion to suspend the rules to permit consideration of an environmentally harmful amendment that would require completion of at least 700 miles of reinforced wall along the Southwest border within one year of the bill's passage, at minimum doubling the wall mileage currently along the Southwest border.
On May 27, the DeMint motion to suspend Senate procedural rules to permit consideration of this damaging amendment failed by a vote of 45–52 (Senate roll call vote 172). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.