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Native American burial sites being destroyed for Trump border wall

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A national monument in Arizona, home to a sacred Native American burial sites, is being blown up this week as part of construction for President Trump's border wall.

A sacred Native American burial site in the US state of Arizona has been destroyed by a construction company building President Donald Trump's controversial wall on the US-Mexico border.

A US lawmaker whose district includes the burial site said "controlled blasting" has begun at the site without consent from the Tohono O'odham, a Native American tribe whose ancestral land it affects.

"There has been no consultation with the nation," said Raúl Grijalva, a member of the US House of Representatives who heads the chambers Committee on Natural Resources and whose district shares 400 miles (643 km) of border with Mexico.

"This administration is basically trampling on the tribe's history — and to put it poignantly, it's ancestry," he said.

The Congressman said the explosions are occurring on Monument Hill, a burial site located inside the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The US Customs and Border Protection agency, which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, told CBS News that the blasts are in preparation for "new border wall system construction.”

Grijalva said the border wall cannot be constructed on the Native American reservation because it is private land.

However, he said the burial site, which is adjacent to the Tohono Oʼodham Indian Reservation, is on public land, making it a target for destruction by the US government.

One burial site, known as Las Playas, contained artifacts that go back 10,000 years, Grijalva said.

"What we saw on Monument Hill was opposing tribes who were respectfully laid to rest — that is the one being blasted with dynamite," Grijalva said.

Trump to request $2 billion in new border wall funding

Trump will request $2 billion in new funding for border wall construction in his 2021 budget, significantly less than he requested last year, according to Reuters, citing senior administration officials.

However, Democratic Party lawmakers criticized the funding request, raising question about whether the money would be approved as part of spending bills later this year.

A year ago, the Trump administration asked Congress to provide $5 billion for the wall, on top of $3.6 billion to replenish funding the administration had taken from military construction projects.

Trump has made toughening immigration policies a central tenet of his presidency and has vowed to build a wall along the US-Mexico border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking.

In February of last year, Trump declared a national emergency in order to obtain $6.6 billion from other government accounts for wall construction aimed at curbing the flow of undocumented migrants from Mexico and Central America.

Trump declared the emergency after Congress did not approve the $5.7 billion that his administration had sought for this year’s construction budget. Congress approved $1.375 billion for wall construction in this year's budget, same as the previous year.

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