Death, Damage, and Failure

Past, Present, and Future Impacts of Walls on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Document Date: September 12, 2018

The U.S. has turned away from addressing the complex causes of immigration and smuggling, and a careful consideration of the most effective ways to respond to these issues, and instead has focused myopically on enforcement and militarizing our borders. Building walls along the southwest border has become a centerpiece of this trend. Like the overemphasis on enforcement, the border wall project is not grounded in facts. But existing border walls blight border communities, tear apart delicate border ecosystems, and redirect crossings into the most remote and treacherous areas where thousands of men, women, and children have lost their lives attempting to enter the United States in search of safety or economic opportunity. In this report, we analyze the rationale behind border barriers, discuss the effectiveness of border walls in regards to unauthorized migration, smuggling, and national security, and illustrate the wide-ranging damages that existing walls have inflicted upon border communities, the environment, and the lives of border crossers.

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