If President Trump wants to build his border wall along the U.S./Mexico border, it would mean digging up the graves of war veterans in South Texas.
Last week, NBC affiliate KVEO reported that under a contract that was awarded earlier this month, the graves of veterans who fought in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War at the Eli Jackson Cemetery would be dug up in order to build 11 miles of Trump’s proposed border wall in Pharr, Texas (near San Juan), just north of the Rio Grande River.
“When you dig up people out of the ground, you’re killing them again,” said Indigenous activist Juan Benito Mancias, of the Carrizo Comecrudo Nation, who is fighting to protect the graves from being exhumed.
Mancias said the graves not only include those of American war veterans, but also the graves of freed slaves and ancestors of his tribe.
“This has been going on for several years, and nothing has been said, and things have been allowed to happen instead of trying to block it,” Mancias said.
On August 7, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the $304,600,000 contract for border wall construction in the Rio Grande Valley. The CBP website ensured that the construction “will not take place at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, La Lomita Historical Park, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, within or east of the Vista del Mar Ranch tract of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, or the National Butterfly Center.”
While the veterans’ cemetery in Pharr is noticeably absent from that list, CBP officials told the outlet that they will take steps to “avoid” the Eli Jackson Cemetery.
The graves could be dug up as soon as September 30, according to KVEO. Families of those veterans told the outlet that nobody has yet contacted them to tell them where their loved ones’ remains would be relocated.
(Featured image: U.S. Air Force/Public Domain)
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.