LUKEVILLE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Environmental groups are pushing the incoming Joe Biden administration to undo some of the damage they say President Donald Trump's border wall caused along the southwest border with Mexico. They say they want to see portions of the wall torn down, barely a year or so after the stretches were erected.
"So on day one, Joe Biden could stop the construction and cancel the efforts to seize people's lands. But on day two, he should immediately start looking at the damage that's been done. And where these walls need to be torn down," said Randy Serraglio, who is a southwest conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity, which is based in Tucson.
The center signed onto a letter to Biden in November, urging him to listen to environmental groups and leaders of indigenous people who live along the border. The Tohono O'Odham tribe alleges that wall construction has desecrated some of their sacred sites. CBS 5 Investigates has documented damage to the desert environment and exposed potentially illegal actions by construction crews working on the wall project.
"The dynamiting is really, really tragic," said John Kurc, who is a photographer who has spent the past two months shooting pictures and video of the construction. His drone footage captured massive explosions on rugged mountaintops as construction crews cleared the way for roads and new sections of the wall.
"These are, you know, 300-foot swaths of land that just gets decimated," said John Kurc.
Kurc and others say the wall has already done tremendous harm to animal species that cross the border for water and natural migration. They say the sections they would like to see torn down are located in remote regions where few migrants cross.
"They put up a wall in the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Arizona. Only three people crossed onto that refuge in the entire year of 2018. And all three were apprehended because it's already covered by electronic surveillance and patrolled by Border Patrol. There's absolutely no reason to build a wall there," said Serraglio.
On the dusty streets of Sonoyta, Sonora, these posts are not on the border anymore. They are for sale in scrap yards.
Biden has stated that he will stop any new construction of the border wall as soon as he takes office, but he has offered few details about what that will look like in actuality.