Mar 20, 2013

Why Walls Won't Work: Repairing the US-Mexico Divide (EXCERPT)

The Huffington Post
Michael Dear
March 19, 2013

There are no magic words to solve the problems of immigration in the US or drug-related violence in Mexico. Instead, I offer one incontrovertible conclusion regarding the borderlands: the Wall will not work.
Here's why.

Because the Border Has Long Been a Place of Connection

The borderline is a permeable membrane connecting two countries. The inhabitants of this "in-between" territory thrive on cross-border exchange and collaboration, both of which have flourished for many centuries. There are strong senses of mutuality and attachment to territory among border residents.

Throughout time, many great dramas have been played out along what is today the border zone, including cataclysmic invasion, war, and revolution. The current afflictions in this troubled geographical vortex pertain to immigration and drug wars. The region has survived past upheavals, and will undoubtedly outlast the present woes.

A principal reason why border tensions are today so intense is that neither the migration nor drug problem has its origin in the borderlands. Instead, they originated from outside, and borderland communities have limited capacity for self-determination in these matters. At the national level, the US and Mexico each stand to gain from the sacrifices of that small subset of their populations that resides in the border zones. These are the people who must endure the exogenously-induced threats, with little assistance from their national and local governments beyond military and police actions. In the meantime, they have made what adjustments they can: some people have left , tired of the stresses and dangers; others simply await the future.  Read more. 

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