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September 13, 2007


S. Nicol

The border wall is fundamentally incompatible with border communities and riparian habitat alike. The design spelled out in the Secure Fence Act, "at least 2 layers of reinforced fencing", is lifted from the walls that begin in the Pacific ocean and extend 14 miles inland. To complete that stretch the Real ID Act had to be passed, giving DHS Secretary Chertoff the power to unilaterally waive all laws, including the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and a host of others. The fact that the wall could not be constructed without violating those laws, and thus the waiver was deemed necessary, is the clearest indication of its destructive nature. When it rips through Laredo, Brownsville, etc., it will be similarly destructive, but instead of riparian habitat it will be tearing through homes, businesses, the University of Texas at Brownsville campus, etc. For all of its destructive impact it will not stop undocumented immigrants from entering the US. Around half of the undocumented immigrants in the United States arrived on legal visas, which they later overstayed. The Congressional Research Service came to the conclusion that the wall in California had no net impact on the number of undocumented immigrants living in the US. The Border Patrol has stated repeatedly that a wall will only slow a crosser down by 5 minutes, not stop them. That is why so many of us who live along the border are opposed to its construction.

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