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Butterfly Center Asks Judge To Halt Border Wall Construction Activity On Its Land

Reynaldo Leaños Jr.
Texas Public Radio

The National Butterfly Center in Mission filed a motion in federal court in Washington, D.C. seeking a temporary restraining order to halt construction of a border wall across its property. The Center claimed the project is destroying the butterflies' habitat.

According to court papers, the plaintiffs sought to stop the government or its contractors from unreasonably depriving or seizing the Center's property and stop any further construction activity on the site.

The North American Butterfly Association claimed heavy machinery was transported onto tracts adjoining the Center.

The court documents also claim law enforcement blocked access to two-thirds of the Center grounds and replaced one lock of the Center’s gate with one of their own.

Association President Jeffrey Glassberg also had problems with the Border Patrol.

“They order our employees and visitors off our own land when they want to,” he said. “They tear up the land, driving around it in mad circles and dragging things. They plant sensors and things, and there’s no permission or legal basis for any of that.”

The association says the wall-related construction activity interferes with rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and violates the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Glassberg said he is not hopeful of victory in federal court, but he feels it is time to stand up for the Center.

“You know when someone keeps punching you in the face? You try to ask them to stop, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.

The Center also said the project will not only harm the habitat of butterflies, but also threaten endangered plants and animals including the Slender Rushpea, the Tamaulipan kidneypetal, the Texas Horned Lizard, and the Texas indigo snake.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.