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NMWF Letter to Governor Martinez Opposing Border Wall

Delivered to the governor's office on March 1, 2017

March 1, 2017

The Honorable Susana Martinez

Governor of New Mexico

490 Old Santa Fe Trail

Room 400

Santa Fe, NM 87501

Dear Governor Martinez,

As faith, conservation, and community leaders from New Mexico, we respectfully ask that you act in the best interest of New Mexicans to oppose the construction of President Trump’s proposed border wall on our state’s 179 miles of land bordering Mexico.

Mexico is our state’s largest trading partner, representing more than $1.68 billion in goods and services exchanged annually. International trade, including exports and imports, support more than 217,000 New Mexico jobs – that’s one in five. As you know, success in the export market is critical to diversifying our state’s economy. The volatility of global energy markets has had a profound effect on New Mexico’s families and economy, most recently leading to a $69 million state budget shortfall and a projected deficit of $250 million in 2018.

By opposing this border wall, and instead promoting a political, financial, and economic climate where trade with Mexico is valued and encouraged, New Mexico can grow its burgeoning international trade sector in areas such as Santa Teresa and Columbus. The Mexican import tariffs proposed by the Trump administration to force Mexico to finance the construction of this wall would have a profound impact on the ability of our state to grow this international trade sector and create new, sustainable jobs. A recent study by WalletHub indicates that New Mexico would be the fourth state most economically impacted by a trade war with Mexico, a reality that New Mexican families simply cannot afford.

Additionally, New Mexico benefits from vast, open areas on its southern border that are yet to be developed for industrial, light manufacturing, storage, warehouse, and logistics businesses. These businesses are being actively recruited by publicly and privately funded economic development organizations because of the potential growth opportunities that our border represents – a competitive advantage over other border states. Trump’s proposed border wall could also severely hamper initiatives to build a planned bi-national railway that would bring additional economic opportunities and jobs to our state and southern border and complement Union Pacific’s $400 million rail facility just built in Santa Teresa.

New Mexico shares a rich bi-national culture with Mexico dating back centuries. In Columbus, for example, during the Bi-National Cavalry Trail Remembrance Day, riders on horseback from both countries come together and cross the border in a sign of friendship and remembrance of the Punitive Expedition, an event widely advertised by the New Mexico Department of Tourism. For at least a decade, the City of Sunland Park, neighbor to Anapra, Mexico, has sought to build an international pedestrian crossing to increase visitation from Mexican tourists and to facilitate visitation between families who live on both sides of the border.

Each year, the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Las Cruces and El Paso host a joint pilgrimage at Mount Cristo Rey, a symbolic mountain that straddles the New Mexico, Mexico, and Texas borders, in a show of cultural and spiritual unity. Across from Antelope Wells, New Mexico, planners from the state of Chihuahua are nearing the final stages of completing a bi-national road to connect our two countries and spur new economic development opportunities and further strengthen the ties between New Mexico and the States of Chihuahua and Sonora. In Doña Ana County, the Mexican national flag is emblazoned in the plaza of the Town of Mesilla, a tribute to the Doña Ana Bend Colony, the Mexican land grant colony that paved the way for the modern-day Mesilla Valley.

Building a border wall in New Mexico to divide our two nations would undermine centuries of shared history between our two countries that brings New Mexicans pride, a sense of identity, and tourism opportunities.

Life on our border extends beyond human habitation and a shared culture. In the vast Chihuahuan Desert and Coronado National Forest, thousands of diverse wildlife species thrive and migrate across our shared border for survival. The heart of one of the the largest and most ecologically diverse wildlife corridors in all of the Americas exists at the center of the wall’s proposed construction site. The southern end of the Rocky Mountains, the northern end of the Sierra Madres and the edges of both the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts all intersect on New Mexico’s border.

Regional native species, including desert bighorn sheep, Sonoran pronghorn, Coues deer, jaguar to myriad game and songbirds and non-game mammals and reptiles depend upon the unwalled border corridor for their survival. These species migrate across the different existing international barriers in search of food, mates, sources of water, and to ensure the survival of their species. Beyond our shared responsibility to co-habitate with wildlife, these species also serve critical needs to the people of New Mexico, including the sustainability of our food supply, economic development through hunting, wildlife watching, and other recreation opportunities, and also help ensure we keep our desert and forest ecosystems in conditions that mitigate the impact of flash flooding and forest fires. Additionally, the Mexican government has stated its opposition to the border wall on many grounds, including the negative impacts on shared ecosystems and wildlife corridors along the border that both countries mutually manage.

The construction of such a wall on New Mexico’s border would have devastating impacts on our economy, our shared bi-national culture, and our environment and wildlife. New Mexico is a land of inclusivity – not a place that turns people away and turns its back on its shared culture. In the best interest of the people of New Mexico, we ask that you do everything within your power, including stopping the exchange of New Mexicans’ state land, to oppose the border wall proposed by President Trump’s Administration within the boundaries of the State of New Mexico.

With gratitude,

Rev. Andrew Black

First Presbyterian Church, Santa Fe, NM

Sr. Joan Brown, OSF

Executive Director

New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, Albuquerque, NM

Robert Woodruff


Second Presbyterian Church

Albuquerque, NM

Pam Fraser-Walters


New Mexico Interfaith Dialogue

Albuquerque, NM

Nancy Rice

Clerk of Hospitality Committee

Religious Society of Friends

Albuquerque, NM

Ashley Zappe

Youth Group Leader

Holy Trinity Orthodox Parish, Santa Fe, NM

Sylvia Miller-Mutia


St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Albuquerque, NM

Donnel Miller-Mutia

Bereavement Counselor

Hospice Compassus, Albuquerque, NM

Blaine Wimberly


Zia United Methodist Church, Santa Fe, NM

Rev. Elizabeth McMaster (ret.)

Albuquerque, NM

Seth Finch


Presbyterian Church (USA)

Albuquerque, NM

Rabbi Paul J. Citrin

Taos Jewish Center, Taos, NM

Rev. Dr.Nancy Hitt

Consulting Minister

Unitarian Universalist Westside Congregation, Rio Rancho, NM

Rev. Sue Joiner

Senior Minister

1st Congregational United Church of Christ, Albuquerque, NM

Rev. Talitha Arnold

Senior Minister

The United Church of Santa Fe

Joel P. Garner


Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey

Albuquerque, NM

Rev. Robert Aubrey (ret.)

CCSW, New Mexico and Texas

Rev. James Brown

Presbyterian Church (USA), Santa Fe, NM

Deacon Lynn Anner-Bolieu (ret.)

Episcopal Church of Navajoland (ECUSA)

Deacon Lynn Anner-Bolieu (ret.)

Episcopal Church of Navajoland  (ECUSA)

Rev. Pamela Shepherd

Taos, NM

Rev. Karen Bash

Church of the Good Shepherd UCC

Albuquerque, NM

Rev. Allan Bash

Church of the Good Shepherd UCC

Albuquerque, NM

Rev. Warren J Broussard, S.J.

Immaculate Conception Church

Albuquerque, NM

Mary Jo Lundy

Presbyterian Elder

Santa Fe, NM

The Rev. Rhonda McIntire (ret.)

Episcopal Priest

Albuquerque, NM

Donald Conklin

Pastoral Associate (ret.)

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church

Albuquerque, NM

George Muedeking

Mission Elder

Mennonite Church, Albuquerque, NM

Rabbi Neil Amswych

Temple Beth Shalom, Santa Fe, NM

Karin Granberg-Michaelson

Retired Hospital Chaplain

Santa Fe, NM

Carol Edling Jolly

Associate Minister for Pastoral Care

United Church of Santa Fe UI

Barbara Gabioud

Chair, Board of Directors

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Silver City

Rev. Virginia Bairby

First Presbyterian Church of Taos

Michael Buttram

Outreach and Youth Ministry

United Church of Santa Fe

Rev. James M. Collie

Parish Associate

La Mesa Presbyterian Church

Albuquerque, NM

Father Gene Fries

Norbertine Community Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey, Albuquerque, NM

Rev. Sylvia-Miller Mutia

St. Thomas of Canterbury

Albuquerque, NM

Rev. Vincent Chavez

St. Therese School and Parish

Albuquerque, NM

Rev. Anita Amstutz

Ordained Mennonite Minister

Albuquerque, NM

Marlene Perrotte

Sister of Mercy

Albuquerque, NM

Garrett VeneKlasen

Executive Director

New Mexico Wildlife Federation

Albuquerque, NM

Gabe Vasquez


Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project

Las Cruces, NM

Fernando Clemente


Friends of the Organ-Mountains Desert Peaks, Las Cruces, NM

Michael Casaus

New Mexico State Director

The Wilderness Society

Albuquerque, NM

Allyson Siwik

Executive Director

Gila Resources Information Project

Silver City, NM

M.H. Dutch Salmon


Gila Conservation Coalition, Silver City, NM

Mark Allison

Executive Director

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

Albuquerque, NM

Diana Hadley


Northern Jaguar Project

Hidalgo County, NM

Nathan Rees

Trout Unlimited

New Mexico & Arizona

John Horning

Executive Director

WildEarth Guardians (NM)

Cathy Bailey

Secretary and Chair of Governance Committee

WildEarth Guardians, Santa Fe, NM

Teresa Seamster

Chair, Northern New Mexico Group

Sierra Club, Santa Fe, NM

David Coss

Chair, Rio Grande Chapter

Sierra Club, Santa Fe, NM

Susan Ostlie


Rio Grande Valley Broadband of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness

Albuquerque, NM

Linda Starr


Rio Grande Valley Broadband of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness

Albuquerque, NM

Oscar Simpson

State Chair/Legislative Chair

New Mexico Sportsmen/Backcountry Horsemen of New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM

Guy Dicharry

Co-Founder/Attorney at Law

Wildlife Conservation Advocacy Southwest, Inc. (WCASW)

Los Lunas, NM

Thomas Stewart


Native Plant Society of New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM

Jeff Swanson

President/Retired Military Chaplain

Southern New Mexico Public Lands Alliance

Alamogordo, NM

Donna Swanson

Member and Retired Educator

Southern New Mexico Public Lands Alliance & Otero County Public Land Use Council

Alamogordo, NM

Michael Robinson

Conservation Advocate

Center for Biological Diversity

Silver City, NM

Bryan Bird

Southwest Program Director

Defenders of Wildlife, Santa Fe, NM

Julie Weinstein

Vice President and Executive Director

Audubon New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Javier Perea


City of Sunland Park

Gregory Z. Smith
Mayor Pro Tem

City of Las Cruces

Gill Sorg

City Councilor

District 5, City of Las Cruces

Angelica Rubio

New Mexico State Representative

District 35, Las Cruces, NM

Joanne Ferrary

New Mexico State Representative

District 37, Las Cruces, NM

Bill McCamley

New Mexico State Representative

District 33, Mesilla Park, NM

Javier Martinez

New Mexico State Representative

District 11, Albuquerque, NM

John Vasquez

County Commissioner

District 5, Doña Ana County, NM

Billy G. Garrett

County Commissioner

District 1, Doña Ana County, NM

Eric Rodriguez


Doña Ana County, NM

Renee Villarreal

City of Santa Fe City Councilor

District 1, Santa Fe, NM

Ray Jaramillo

Board Member

District 1, Las Cruces Public Schools

Maria A. Flores

Board Member, President

District 3, Las Cruces Public Schools

Mary Carter

Executive Director

Women’s Intercultural Center

Anthony, NM

Charles Goodmacher

Government Relations

National Education Association (NM)

Sarah Silva

Executive Director

NM CAFe, Las Cruces, NM

Dr. Ernest Flores, MD

Las Cruces, NM

Jutta Stonawski

Teacher of the Gifted

Gallup-McKinley County Schools

Gallup, NM

Felipe Gonzalez


University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM

Kathryn Wichelns

Assistant Professor of English

University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM

Mia Sosa-Provencio

Assistant Professor

University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM

Adrian Telles


Albuquerque Public Schools

Don Zancanella

Emeritus Professor

University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM

Orlando Carrillo-Jiménez

Former Colonias Infrastructure Board Member

La Mesa, NM

Juliette Cunico, Ph.D

UNMVC Department of English

Albuquerque, NM

Olivia Provencio-Johnson

Administrative Coordinator

International Community Health Services

Dan Olson

Executive Director

San Juan Citizens Alliance

D.W. Hadley

Part Owner

Guadalupe Ranch

Hidalgo County, NM

Carrie Hamblen


Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce

Claudia Bianca

Owner of RET

Taos, NM

Denise Chávez

Director, Author and Bookseller

Casa Camino Real Bookstore & Art Gallery

Las Cruces, NM

Angel Peña


Out Back A’Horse Back

Radium Springs, NM

Mollie McGraw, Esq.

Las Cruces, NM

Kenneth J. Ferrone
Executive Director
Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico, Las Cruces, NM

CC: U.S. Senator Tom Udall (NM)

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (NM)

U.S. Representative Steve Pearce (NM)

U.S. Representative Ben Ray Lujan (NM)

U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM)

City of Las Cruces City Council