National Butterfly Center director to testify against border wall before congressional committee

National Butterfly Center Executive Director Marianna Treviño-Wright is expected to testify before the House Committee on Natural Resources on Wednesday in Washington.

“I’m honored to have been invited by the committee to share first-hand testimony about what it is like to work on the Rio Grande everyday and the experiences that I’ve had over the last six and a half years,” she said during a phone call Tuesday. “It is a very good thing that members of the House of Representatives want to hear from affected parties — people who have a true and vested interest, as well as expertise, in what the border wall will do to our communities, economy, private property and public lands.”

Treviño-Wright’s prepared statements detail finding unannounced contractors in July of 2017 on the butterfly center’s land cutting trees and mowing brush to widen roads. This drew media attention to the natural spaces of the Rio Grande Valley at risk of losing land and disrupting vulnerable ecosystems along the river.

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Alamo was spared, but the butterfly center and its neighbor Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, were not so lucky.

“Since 33 new miles of border wall were funded in March of 2018, we have struggled to communicate the seriousness of the threat to people, wildlife and natural resources to the public, as members of the media and Congress have argued there is no new border wall funding, only ‘levee system improvements,’” she writes in her prepared statement. “This assertion is false.

Unfortunately, this deceit is directly related to a scheme to exploit the easement for flood control across private property by calling border walls ‘levee walls’ and ‘levee fences.’”

Treviño-Wright said she will do more than attempt to appeal to the emotions of the reps regarding jeopardizing wildlife habit, but to help them realize ceding this land doesn’t make sense.

“We need to make rational decisions regarding this very, very costly public works project that will not stop the bulk of all human and drug traffic entering the United States,” she said. “People are finally starting to tell the truth and acknowledge the fact that levee wall is border wall and it was funded in the 2018 Omnibus.”

She will also highlight the 28 federal laws that were waived to construct the new sections of the border wall in Hidalgo County.

Last week the president visited the Valley to implore for a physical barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border — saying that a crisis on the border necessitated such construction to stem the flow of criminals and drugs coming into the country.