Border Wall

The high cost of border militarization

Border wall construction for 3.5 miles at Smuggler's Gulch in San Diego cost $16.8 million per mile

Senator John McCain recently praised the senate’s immigration bill for enabling the U.S. to create “the most militarized border since the Berlin Wall.”

It is amazing to me how that symbol of oppression has been rebranded in just a few short decades.

In the summer of 2008, the Department of Homeland Security ramped up their efforts to build a new Berlin Wall slicing through the delicate natural habitats of the Tijuana River Watershed, a 1750-square-mile habitat linking both natural and human activity in San Diego County with Baja California.

Environmental scientists like T.L. Dunne see our frontera differently, as more than a bargaining chip in the ongoing competition in the U.S. Senate and Congress for dominance of immigration and national security policy.

As Dunne explains, “A watershed is the area of land that drains water, sediment and dissolved materials to a common outlet along some point in the stream channel. Many ecological and human processes occur within a watershed, and contribute to the health (and economic benefits) of a watershed.”

In other words, there’s no such thing as “Mexican air” or “American water.” We share this space with our neighbors, and good stewardship of land, water, and habitats serves all humankind in equal measure. And likewise, environmental destruction will harm communities on both sides of this arbitrary line in the sand.

Last week, KPBS San Diego Public Radio aired an excellent story by my colleague Jill Replogle that maps out the consequences of the devil’s bargain Congress made in the mid-2000s.

Click here for the full story:

For more on this issue, see the blog Border Wall in the News

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