In Hildalgo County, Texas, residents are fighting to protect the graves of veterans under threat by President Donald Trump’s border wall, according to local news station KVEO-TV.
The Eli Jackson Cemetery is the final resting place of veterans of both World Wars as well as the Korean War, but the Trump administration wants to have those graves moved in order to make way for the proposed barrier along the southern U.S. border.
Others buried in the cemetery, which is considered sacred land by local natives, include freed slaves and native ancestors.
One of the individuals opposing the government’s planned intrusion, part of a local Native American tribe, told KVEO-TV, “When you dig people out of the ground, you’re killing them again.”
“We’re going to protect this land. We’re going to protect this sacred site,” he said.
According to the news report, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced earlier this month it had awarded a $304,600,000 contract to build 11 miles of border wall in Hildalgo County — but Democratic leaders are determined to protect the graves from exhumation.
CBP said in a statement that it would “avoid” the cemetery, but KVEO-TV noted that no legal protections have been passed.
The Department of Homeland Security has waived 28 federal laws, including the Native American Graves Act, in order to make Trump’s border wall happen.
“You’re supposed to respect [people] even after death,” the tribesman said.