Border wall opposition focus of Santa Ana concert, rally

A rally and concert will be held Saturday near the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Alamo to commemorate the 75th anniversary of its establishment, as well as to protest the Trump administration’s plans to build a physical barrier on its land.

“Home to more than 400 species of birds and located within the territory of endangered cats like the ocelot and jaguarundi, Santa Ana has been called the ‘jewel’ of the National Wildlife Refuge System because of its stunning diversity,” a news release for the event states. “For 75 years it has protected some of the last remaining riparian habitat along the lower Rio Grande River. Walling through it would be a national tragedy.”

The rally, organized by members of the Lower Rio Grande Sierra Club and other local advocacy groups, is designed to raise awareness about the looming plans to construct walls on the levees on the refuge’s land — essentially creating a divide between the refuge and visitors center, and from the rest of the country.

The event will be held just days after national media outlets reported that the president would propose a $25 billion price tag Monday for border wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border — a sticking point for Trump on any deal to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“Local organizers want to send the message that border communities are among the safest in the nation and that the push for more border security is based on xenophobic fear rather than reality,” officials said in a news release about the event. “They believe that DACA recipients, one out of five of whom live in the border region, deserve a clean Dream Act to protect them from deportation and offer them a stable future.”

The event, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, will feature speakers, musicians and free food, as well as information on how attendees can take action against the wall’s construction.

Expected at the event are U.S. Rep Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, whose district includes Santa Ana; Efrén Olivares, the racial and economic justice director for the Texas Civil Rights Project; and Abraham Diaz of La Unión del Pueblo Entero, a local immigrant advocacy group. There will also be discussion on “the terrible impacts that border walls could inflict upon our communities and environment, and the border militarization that they are a part of,” the release states.

Event: Stop the Wall: Rally to Save Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

Date: Saturday, Jan. 27

Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Location: Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, 3325 Green Jay, Alamo