July 08, 2020

Rep. Vargas Sends Letter to DHS Inquiring About Kumeyaay Land Affected by Border Wall Construction

Washington, D.C. (July 7, 2020) – Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51), released the following statement after sending a letter addressed to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf concerning Kumeyaay land affected by border wall construction.

The letter comes after several Kumeyaay members communicated their concerns regarding the desecration of Kumeyaay lands, artifacts, and fossils near Tierra Del Sol Road in Campo, California.

“The Kumeyaay Tribal Nation has been a part of our region for over 10,000 years and are considered the original inhabitants of San Diego County.  The administration’s capricious border wall construction could ruin generations of history and Kumeyaay craftsmanship.

 “The Kumeyaay people are a rich part of San Diego’s history.  Their ancestral remains and artifacts are considered sacred and, in some cases, should remain buried and undisturbed. This is why I am asking the Department of Homeland Security for clarity on policies being implemented to preserve the sanctity and sovereignty of tribal lands in my district.

“I am requesting that their sovereignty, treaty rights, and resources are protected during border wall construction projects.  The Kumeyaay people must be included in the decision-making processes directly impacting their sacred lands and tribal members. We have the responsibility to uphold and honor promises made to the indigenous peoples that reside in our nation.”

Vargas represents California’s 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire U.S.-Mexico border. Vargas was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and is currently serving his fourth term in Congress.