This morning starting at 10am, the Texas Standard, a radio production of KUT, will focus on the issue of the proposed border wall between the US and Mexico. I was interviewed about our paper on the potential impact to biodiversity. We showed that a border wall would bisect some species ranges leaving behind smaller isolated populations at risk for extinction. Some of these species are considered globally imperiled.
The political issues surrounding the border wall are complex. I am sympathetic to the concerns of local people impacted by illegal activities along the border, although the extent of crime in the region is often exaggerated. However, a solid barrier spanning the US-Mexico border would be an enormously wasteful exercise with major environmental consequences. A project of that scope would cause major habitat disturbance and would result in the generation of large amounts of pollution. And it would not achieve the intended goal of stopping illegal activity.
My hope for the future is a more rational policy towards border issues that would get at the root problems. The current laws and policies may make for satisfying political theater, but they have only made the situation worse.