Politics | September 19, 2019 2:54 pm

22 Archaeological Sites Could Be Destroyed by President Trump’s Wall

Construction is underway despite the report from the National Park Service

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona.
Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty

Back in July, the National Park Service completed a report which found 22 archaeological sites in Arizona that “likely will be wholly or partially destroyed” by President Trump’s border fence. Despite those facts, construction has begun. But the public was only recently made aware of the potential catastrophe, as The Washington Post brought the report to light this week thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The archaeological sites in question are located within the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, where construction began in August. As the article states, “The administration’s plan to convert an existing five-foot-high vehicle barrier into a 30-foot steel edifice could pose irreparable harm to unexcavated remnants of ancient Sonoran Desert peoples.”  

The lack of adherence to normal standards, such as taking the irreparable damage of historically significant places into account, is par for the course for the president’s “border wall.” In order to “meet Trump’s campaign pledge of completing 500 miles of barrier by next year’s election,” as The Washington Post writes, the administration is considering seizing land via eminent domain (a tactic already facing challenges) and building through other protected lands.

But the idea that this careless bulldozing, both literally and figuratively, stems from a desire for Trump to fulfill a campaign promise is misleading. The campaign promise the president made is that Mexico would pay for a wall at its U.S. border. 

That, as we learned in early September, can already be counted as a failure. 

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