PALMVIEW, Texas (Border Report) — “No trespassing” signs that were placed on border levee constructions sites without government authorization are to be taken down, workers with border wall contractor SLSCO told Border Report on Wednesday afternoon.
A supervisory worker with SLSCO told Border Report on Wednesday that the company put the signs up “at the request of the government” and for public safety.
But environmentalists claim the signs falsely threaten prosecution and were put up along the Rio Grande to intimidate border residents and the media about the goings-on at controversial border wall sites in South Texas.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers originally hired SLSCO Ltd., of Galveston, Texas, to build a border wall. The company is now fixing holes in the border levee caused by border wall construction during the Trump administration.
U.S. Border Patrol Supervisory Agent Christian Alvarez on Wednesday told Border Report that “Border Patrol, or CBP or DHS (Department of Homeland Security) didn’t authorize the signs.” And he directed further questions to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers , “which work directly with subcontractors.”
Border Report has reached out to the Army Corps of Engineers and asked whether they monitor signage put up by contractors and whether they authorized these signs. This story will be updated if additional information is received.
Border Report on Tuesday reported on the mysterious signs — which mislabel CBP, have grammatical errors and incorrect phone numbers, and falsely claim air space restrictions — after two new signs were placed on land at the National Butterfly Center this week in Mission, Texas.
On Wednesday, Border Report went looking for more of the signs and found four more signs at two other levee construction sites run by SLSCO south of the town of Palmview, Texas. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report Photos)
The SLSCO supervisor at one of the sites, who refused to give his name, said that the signs were put up six months ago and designed to keep the public and media from the levees that construction crews were fixing.
“We were requested to put the signs there to keep the media at a safe distance from the project,” he said.
The levees were damaged during the Trump administration when those same construction crews were hired to build a 30-foot-tall border wall that punched holes through the earthen levees that have prevented flooding for decades in the Rio Grande Valley.
Now the same company that built the border wall is placing smaller metal bollards that are designed to act as a “flood wall with traffic barriers,” he said.
Some local environmentalists tell Border Report that the signs were authoritative overreach designed to intimidate and prevent the community and media from entering borderlands and the levee areas that locals have long enjoyed.
“They had no authorization, random agents phone numbers, non-working numbers, false information, like the controlled restricted air space,” National Butterfly Center Executive Director Marianna Treviño-Wright said. “It was just bogus.”
“SLS has no authority one way or the other. If a sign was going to go up it would have to be installed by somebody who has authority to make the threat of arresting people. So if CBP felt like they have that authority then they’d be the ones to actually but the sign up, not SLS,” said local environmentalist Scott Nicol, former chairman of the Sierra Club’s Borderlands Campaign.
“The explicit intimidation of the press that’s pretty over the top,” Nicol said. “But Border Patrol and CBP are basically trying to claim all the land in between the levee and the river as their theatre of operation so they can decide who can go back there and can’t.”
Border Report has reached out to SLSCO’s headquarters in Galveston, Texas, to ask which government agency told them to put up the signs, and whether they have authority to keep out the public and media. This story will be updated if additional information is received.