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A different look at the US wall

September 16, 2008

While looking through the AFSC’s (American Friends Service Committee) website on immigration, I came across a video produced by PBS on the border fence which provides an alternative perspective on the wall emphasizing property rights rather than immigrants’ rights. Given that I posted about the wall yesterday, I thought I would offer a quick summary here.

To see the complete video, click here.

What PBS points out in this video is that the US border fence does not actually follow the exact border between the US and Mexico. At times, the fence comes as far as two miles inward into US territory.

The result of this is that many farmers are cut off from sections of their land and crops. Even more drastic, many people’s houses are actually caught in this “no man’s land” between the fence and the actual US-Mexican border.

Apparently, neither Congress nor the contractors have thought about how these people will get through the wall to go to the grocery store, the doctor, or to visit friends on the “US side.” When a local whose house did fall on the “Mexican side” of the fence asked Homeland Security what she would do, she was told that they guessed she would have to “follow the Border patrol.” As she described it to the reporter, she was being “locked out of the US.”

As the PBS documentary points out, people in these border towns are not traditional supporters of immigration reform. However, the border fence has become a matter of property rights. What right does the US government have to separate people from their land, houses, and families?

Moreover, the legislation which authorized the construction of the wall also gave the contractors more leeway than any construction project in history. An amendment was tagged to the bill waiving any federal laws which impeded construction of the wall. So far, over 36 federal laws have been broken, including the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Farmland Protection Policy Act.

Who still thinks this is a good idea?

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