Tohono O’odham Nation Tribal Leaders Say Wall With Mexico Will Not Be Built On Their Land

FILE - This Oct. 2, 2012 file photo shows U.S. Border Patrol agents patrolling the border fence near Naco, Ariz. In the midst of a national conversation about immigration reform, where questions of border security figure heavily, the Obama administration switched from daily declarations that the border with Mexico is as secure as it's ever been to warning of the increasingly dire implications of hacking $754 million from Customs and Border Protection among nearly $3 billion from the Department of Homeland Security in the remaining half of the fiscal year. The cuts have affected the border and immigration enforcement in various ways, most visibly with the release of more than 2,000 immigrants from detention centers in states including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia and Texas (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, file)

U.S. Border Patrol agents patrolling the border fence near Naco, Ariz. (AP/Ross D. Franklin)

Tribal leadership of Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona said they won’t support a border wall project on their land. Part of their reservation extends into Mexico and covers 75 miles of the international border.

The tribe’s chairman and vice chair said the plan was always to try to work with whoever holds the office of the United States President. But, they added, it’s still too early to tell exactly how Donald Trump’s administration will impact the tribe.

Vice Chairman Verlon Jose explained tribal members have traversed their ancestral land since time immemorial, and a wall of any sort would not be supported by the community.

“Over my dead body will a wall be built,” Jose said, describing some community members’ sentiments. “I don’t wish to die but I do wish to work together with people so we can truly protect the homeland of this place they call the United States of America. Not only for our people but for the American people.”

Jose said he invites president elect Trump to come down to the reservation to see why a physical wall, in his opinion, would not be a good idea for the tribe or the country.

By: Carrie Jung  From: KJZZ


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