HOW EFFECTIVE CAN A FENCE BE
On May 6th 2020 the Trump administration awarded a $1.28 billion contract to build 42 miles of wall along the US-Mexico border. At just over $30 million per mile, this stretch promised to be one of the most expensive sections of freestanding wall ever built. And it’s not hard to see why. The Atascosa Highlands are a notoriously rugged and remote landscape. When the original US-Mexico boundary survey set up the first border markers in the mid 1800’s, they skipped over most of the Atascosas altogether, not feeling equipped to handle such unforgiving terrain. To add to the engineering challenges, under existing U.S. environmental laws the level of destruction necessary to construct such a barrier would violate dozens of regulations, so the Department of Homeland Security waived all obligation for these laws to be followed. The National Forest Act, the Clean Water Act, the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, the Antiquities Act, and the Noise Control Act, are just a few of the 41 statutes waived to allow border wall construction in Arizona. No environmental surveys were conducted to assess damage to the watersheds or habitat, and no one was hired to see if the course of road building or wall construction would harm the numerous endangered species which occur in these mountains.