Native Americans protest border wall at site of Texas butterfly habitat

Native Americans protest border wall at site of Texas butterfly habitat
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A group of Native Americans on Monday protested President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE's plans to build a border wall which will cut through a protected natural habitat for butterflies.

The protest was at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. The barrier is expected to pass through the butterfly refuge, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Roughly 35 tribal members reportedly protested along a levee on the Rio Grande River, as construction equipment was off-loaded at the butterfly habitat. 

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Juan Mancias, the tribal chair of Carrizo Comecrudo who led the march, told the newspaper that he didn’t expect the construction to begin “this soon.”

“You come over here, you see the butterflies here, the animals here, and you also see gravesites that have been here since 1865,” Mancias said.

According to federal documents seen by the publication, the border construction will reportedly feature a 150-foot-wide “enforcement zone” that could also destroy the gravesites of Mancias’ ancestors who were buried at a nearby cemetery in San Juan.

Mancias told the newspaper that he felt a kinship with the butterfly site and added they both are dedicated to “saving that which is native to Texas” in a way.

“We have an association with nature, we are a part of it,” he continued.

According to the Express-News the Trump administration is waving nearly 30 environment laws to build a wall at the site

The funding approved by Congress for that section of the wall will reportedly cover the expenses for 33 miles in the Rio Grande Valley, including a stretch of the barrier that is expected to cut off 70 of the butterfly habitat's 100 acres.

The barrier will also reportedly cut off the butterfly center’s gates for entrance.

Congress approved funding for that section of the wall in last year’s federal budget, when Republicans controlled both chambers.