Two Arrested As Kumeyaay Protests Against Border Wall Construction Ordered To Stop
Speaker 1: 00:00 A week's long protest to stop construction of the border wall in San Diego's East County came to an end this week when border patrol agents arrested two members of the Kumiai nation of mission Indians, KPBS reporter max Rivlin Adler has been following the story and joins us now welcome max. So now remind us why the Kumeyaay nation has been trying to stop the wall from being built. Speaker 2: 00:23 So the objections of the kunai nation have been, you know, basically about the process by which this wall is being built there. This area, uh, that has always fell on, on their kind of tribal Homeland has never not been without any border wall infrastructure or any kind of border security for at least the past 20 to 30 years. So even a smaller wall has been at the play, uh, at these locations and, uh, border patrol, um, infrastructure, including roads has always been there, but the wall itself is, is a huge, um, engineering endeavor. So they're going deep into the ground. They're building huge access roads to be able to get the machinery. They need to go up and down the side of mountains. And basically, um, what they're contesting is that, uh, they're, they're not doing their due diligence in terms of, uh, preserving cultural artifacts or burial sites that they might find on this land. So that, um, basically, you know, in previous iterations of construction on this, on this land, even when SDG and E does a project or something like that, there's a lot of consultation that goes on between the tribes and the U S government and the private company. And this just wasn't done in this case. Speaker 1: 01:32 What sort of artifacts have they found there Speaker 2: 01:35 Just have found remnants of, of gathering sites of old towns that had been in use, including burial sites, uh, people, uh, th the way that the CUNY a nation, um, has their ceremony for, for people that have died as they're cremated. So they found cremated remains. Um, they they've found other kind of, um, artifacts that indicate that this was a gathering place for the community nation and one that they would like to see preserved. Speaker 1: 02:03 So what exactly happened on Monday, Speaker 2: 02:05 A protest that is not necessarily the only protest that has been going on because there have actually been several different community protests that have been happening some with more direct input from the tribe, others with less input from the tribe, and kind of, um, more, more interested in just stopping the wall in general. This was a, uh, occupation on the land, um, East of Campo in this Valley that has been scheduled to be kind of essentially blown out to build the border wall. And so on Monday, the Bureau of land management came out and said that they were going to issue a, um, closure order saying that any, uh, people who are occupying that space, which they had been doing for most of the past month had to leave and under penalty of law. And so within an hour border patrol came out to enforce that new closure order and remove the protesters within that hour. And two of those individuals were arrested. So as he could hear there, that was the border patrol, uh, while there was a native ceremony happening at the site, I'm enacting these arrested and kicking the protesters off of this land. Speaker 1: 03:16 What was the legal basis for the arrests? Speaker 2: 03:19 The Bureau of land management actually controls that land. They had transferred control of it over to the army. Uh, the department of defense as part of a presidential proclamation to build the border wall last year, the army, uh, then had the army Corps of engineers designed the border wall, which was then given to contractors, uh, to build. So it's a bit of a convoluted kind of web here, but it is Bureau of land management land, and they are allowed to close land as they see fit, whether they followed the right process here and gave enough notice, uh, is questionable. A lot of protestors were pointing at the fact that the closure order, which they had just learned an hour before they were ordered off the land was dated two days before the actual closure. And they were only given an hour notice. So in terms of the actual intricacies of when BLM is able to issue a closure order, we know when it comes to things like wildfires and forest fires, they do it relatively quickly. But even then there's a few hours of notice for people to get off lands. So this is something that protesters are going to be looking at and maybe challenging, but at the end of the day, you know, the people who have control over who can go and walk around would be the Bureau of land management for this, these public lands, Speaker 1: 04:28 A U S district judge denied a restraining order that they'd filed last month, uh, on what grounds, Speaker 2: 04:34 Right? So this was a legal challenge to the wall from the LA Posta band of mission Indians. They were challenging the, um, lack of consultation between the U S government and native groups as to the heritage sites. So in terms of actually stopping the wall, it was stopping the construction and the way it was being done. So it was trying to slow it down in other words, so that actual, um, you know, uh, research into what was being destroyed could be done. Uh, the judge in this case, a federal district judge, um, Anthony Bataglia, he, uh, denied that requesting that basically they hadn't met any of the requirements that they needed to prove that irreparable harm was being done and that a temporary restraining order needs to be made on top of that. He basically kicked the can down the road to oral arguments, which will happen in several weeks, uh, and a lot of the [inaudible] protestors. And, you know, basically agree that by then the wall will be done. So right now they're challenging to the ninth circuit court of appeals and arguments they're scheduled for December. But of course the courts move much slower than construction, which is why several protesters opted for direct action. We've been speaking with KPBS reporter Maxwell and Adler max. Thanks very much. Thanks for having me. Speaker 3: 05:59 [inaudible].