ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona tribal nation speaks out against Trump’s border wall proposal

Feb 22, 2017, 4:11 AM | Updated: 2:47 pm

PHOENIX — A tribal nation that sits along the Arizona-Mexico border is sending a message to President Donald Trump: “We do not support any wall.”

“A wall built on the border, we believe, is not the answer to securing America,” said Tohono O’odham Nation Vice Chairman Verlon Jose in a recent YouTube video.

The Nation is a federally recognized tribe of 34,000 members, including more than 2,000 residing in Mexico, according to their website.

The group said 62 miles of the international border, where the president’s new wall would presumably be constructed, is on Tohono O’odham reservation land.

“We believe that what is effective is continued cooperation and working together,” Jose said.

Jose said in the video that putting up a wall would impact the tribe’s way of life, since its members “cross the border daily for just basic necessities. We also cross for burials, to visit our relatives.”

Tohono-O’odham Nation leaders emphasized that the group has worked closely with Border Patrol officials to secure the border, seizing hundreds of thousands of drugs annually and spending millions on border security.

“The cost for protecting the border is not only a huge cost to [the] United States government,” Jose said. “It also is a tremendous cost to the Tohono-O’odham Nation.”

The Tohono-O’odham Nation is not the only Arizona opponent of the border wall: Douglas Mayor Robert Uribe spoke out in opposition of the plan on Monday, calling it a waste of taxpayer money.

The Government Accountability Office has agreed with Uribe’s statements, finding in a Feb. 16 report that the government does not have a way to measure how well fencing works to deter illegal crossings from Mexico.

But former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has supported the plan throughout Trump’s campaign and said Monday she hopes it can be completed during his first term.

On Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly called on Customs and Border Protection to “immediately begin planning, design, construction and maintenance of a wall, including the attendant lighting, technology (including sensors), as well as patrol and access roads.”

Trump initially signed an executive order to build the border wall, his biggest campaign promise, in January.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security internal report concluded in early February the border wall could cost as much as $21.6 billion and would take nearly four years to build.

The president has repeatedly estimated the border wall would cost $12 billion and would be paid for by taxpayers, but insisted that Mexico would pay us back in full through trade agreements and taxes.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A look inside the South Concourse terminal expansion at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizo...

Kevin Stone

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport debuts new terminal in time for spring travel season

After 18 months of construction, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport’s terminal expansion project is complete in time for the spring travel season.

44 minutes ago

John Holmberg Amazing Arizonans KTAR News 92.3 FM...

Mike Broomhead

Amazing Arizonans: Radio host John Holmberg dishes on voice work, stand-up comedy, more

Longtime Valley radio host John Holmberg is the latest guest on Mike Broomhead's Amazing Arizonans podcast, which celebrates greatness.

2 hours ago

Police are looking to identify suspects in an assault at a parking garage near Gilbert Road and Vau...

Jim Sharpe

I hope I’m never NOT shocked by youth violence in the East Valley or elsewhere

KTAR News host Jim Sharpe hopes that the shock of youth violence in the East Valley and elsewhere doesn't go away because it gets normalized.

3 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Can we prevent children from joining violent groups like Gilbert Goons?

On Jim Sharpe’s daily Sharper Point Commentary he shares his worry for his children and who they might hang out with in the years to come. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

3 hours ago

Dan + Shay performing on stage....

KTAR.com

Country singers Dan + Shay adds Phoenix stop in September on upcoming tour

Dan + Shay will perform at Phoenix's Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre on Sept. 5 for their "2024 The Heartbreak On The Map Tour."

4 hours ago

Split-panel image with Arizona Public Service President Ted Geisler being interviewed in the KTAR N...

Kevin Stone

APS, Arizona’s largest electric utility, wants to raise residential rates by about 11%

APS, Arizona’s largest electric utility company, is seeking a rate hike that would increase residential bills by an average of 11%.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Arizona tribal nation speaks out against Trump’s border wall proposal