Butterfly Center Will Be Destroyed to Build Trump’s Border Wall

The National Butterfly Center near the Rio Grande River in Mission, Texas, features 100 acres of subtropical bushlands that are home to more than 200 species of butterfly. It serves as critical habitat for the Monarch butterfly and other endangered species such as the ocelot and jaguarundi.

Founded in 2002, it’s a glorious place, the most diverse butterfly sanctuary in the U.S. and it is under threat. 

The US Supreme Court last week gave the go-ahead for the Trump administration to waive 28 federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act, and begin construction on 33 miles of border wall, right through the Butterfly Center. 

This construction is scheduled to start in February, 2019, but it must be stopped.

This is the clearest example yet of the Supreme Court’s total disregard for the environment in favor of Trump’s promise to his base that he would build a wall between Mexico and the U.S.

Isn’t the Supreme Court supposed to uphold the laws of the land?

According to Marianna Wright, the executive director of the Center, hundreds of thousands of butterflies housed at the Butterfly Center, as well as birds and other wildlife, will end up in jeopardy when about 70 percent of the Center’s land will be located on the other side of the border wall, facing Mexico.

“We do not know exactly how much of (the land) we will retain access to and how much of it will be left intact,” said Wright. ”We have a president who purports to be all about law and order, and he and the Supreme Court are now supporting the waiver of all laws that get in the way of his agenda,” Wright said. “That should be an affront to all Americans.”

According to a letter from U.S. Customs and Border Protection describing the project, the wall will be as high as 36 feet and will feature gates at least 18 feet high and 20 feet wide so that vehicles can pass through. A patrol road will run parallel to the wall, which will feature LED lighting and a camera surveillance system, while south of the wall “all vegetation…will be cleared for 150 feet to allow for an ‘enforcement zone.’”

This would sound the death knell for the Butterfly Center.

It would also impact a wide area around the Center.

“Environmental tourism contributes more than $450m to Hidalgo and Starr counties,” said Wright, referring to the adjacent counties in the Rio Grande valley. She explains that many of the places people come to visit will be behind the border wall, no longer reachable.

“Border walls are death sentences for wildlife and humans alike,” says Amanda Munro of the Southwest Environmental Center. “They block wild animals from accessing the food, water, and mates they need to survive. They weaken generic diversity, fragment habitat, and trap animals in deadly floods. At the same time they drive desperate asylum-seekers to risk their lives in the unforgiving desert.”

Federal agencies have already used eminent domain to seize private property and install hundreds of miles of fencing along the border and it’s expected they will do this again in the Rio Grande Valley.

Trump’s plan for this 33-mile segment of his wall is possible because Congress authorized $1.6 billion in funding last year. The barrier would be a few miles north of the international border and would not only destroy the Butterfly Center, but also cut through Rio Grande Valley State Park and the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

In response to this looming disaster, the Center, which is part of the nonprofit North American Butterfly Association, has set up a GoFundMe. The money will go initially toward fighting the project and if that fails, toward repairing the damage to the environment.

Take Action

If you are outraged by the death sentence being imposed on the National Butterfly Center by Trump, please sign this Care2 petition demanding that the Trump administration not destroy a butterfly sanctuary and the surrounding environment in order to build a wall.



Photo Credit: Getty Images


Fran F
Fran F6 months ago

Petition signed and noted on December 12, 2018. The mainstream press neglects its job by virtually ignoring the huge level of environmental destruction trump's idiotic border wall threatens to cause.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner6 months ago

jo Howard. Quit pimping that psychotic maniac. Not only is a "wall" a stupid idea of psychotics and massively environmentally destructive as well as economy bankrupting, it is useless. BORDER SECURITY IS ALREADY WORKING FINE AND AND HAS BEEN WORKING UNDER OBAMA WITH APPREHENSIONS 90% down. The undocumented who are here simply flew in and overstayed their visas, most of them have been here over a decade. Cartels use seaports and traffic through border crossing, they could give a flying leap about Trump's insane wall. No it is not "essential" just go away and take your psycho Alzheimer trump gang with you.

Richard B
Past Member 6 months ago


Georgina Elizab M
Georgina Elizab M6 months ago

I don't know anything to say without being very bad mannered

Chad Anderson
Chad A6 months ago

Thank you.

Lorraine A
Lorraine Andersen6 months ago

I don't know why that man hasn't been ousted yet! He is a horror and the US will not have much of a country let under his dictatorship at this rate.

joan silaco
joan silaco6 months ago


Thomas M
Thomas M6 months ago


Michael Friedmann
Michael Friedmann6 months ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

Debra Tate
Debra Tate6 months ago