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.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/City Government of Chandler, Arizona)...

Chandler City Council approves policy to prohibit acts of discrimination

The Chandler City Council voted 6-1 to adopt an ordinance that prohibits discrimination during Monday’s meeting.
22 hours ago
(Photo by Mike Simons/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Execution warrant requested for Arizona death row inmate

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has requested the state Supreme Court issue a warrant of execution for death row inmate Aaron Gunches.
22 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Angel Zamora)...

2 Phoenix police officers charged with assault in October incident with shooting suspect

Charges against two Phoenix police officers accused of assaulting a shooting suspect during an October arrest have been submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.
22 hours ago
(Screenshot via Glendale Police Department)...

Glendale police said officer who activated Taser on shoplifting suspect 14 times followed policy

Glendale police said an officer who activated a Taser 14 times on a shoplifting suspect Tuesday acted within department policy.
22 hours ago
(Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Photo/Andrew Pielage)...

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale to host 1st holiday experience

The Scottsdale winter home and studio of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright will host two weekends of holiday-themed activities open to the public for the first time.
22 hours ago
Teofilo Acuna Gutierrez (Photo courtesy of DPS)...

Silver Alert canceled for 78-year-old man last seen in Phoenix

A Silver Alert was canceled Wednesday evening in Phoenix for a 78-year-old man who hasn't been spotted since Friday.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Arizona tribal nation speaks out against Trump’s border wall proposal