Editor’s note: This story has been updated to show that a judge did not issue a cease and desist letter; the International Boundary and Water Commission issued the letter to We Build the Wall Inc.
The U.S. government has ordered, through a cease and desist letter, a Houston-based nonprofit to stop clearing land for a border wall in the Rio Grande Valley. We Build the Wall Inc.’s project is on a 6,000-acre private property near Mission, Texas, but an agency responsible for upholding a treaty between the U.S. and Mexico needs to evaluate the construction plan before it can move forward.
Sandra Sanchez is a South Texas correspondent for the Border Report reporting project, and she says Border Patrol had already asked the group to stop before the International Boundary and Water Commission intervened with the letter. That agency determines whether border projects violate international water treaties. But it can’t determine that, in this case, until We Build the Wall submits its building plans.
We Build the Wall says it has the right to build on private land. But other groups say building a wall on a floodplain could cause environmental damage.
Sanchez says so far, the group has bulldozed land along the Rio Grande, but it hasn’t yet erected wall panels. She says it’s unclear how tall the wall would be.
“Typically, We Build the Wall does not build to spec as the federal government does, an example being what they built in Sunland Park, New Mexico, earlier this year,” Sanchez says.
We Build the Wall has not said whether it will comply with the cease and desist letter. But it has posted on social media, saying that the wall project is underway.
Written by Caroline Covington.