Constructing the Border Wall

I am posting the abstract as a post because it is not available online…

Lauren Martin. “Constructing the Border Wall: The Social and Environmental Impacts of Border Mexico-US  Border Policy,” Engineering Earth, ed.s Stan Brunn and Andrew Wood. Norwell, MA: Kluwer, forthcoming.

Abstract: As of December, 2008, the U.S. government has built just over 370 miles of fencing along its southern boundary, half of the quantity mandated by Congress in the 2006 Secure Fence Act.  Expanding from 73 miles of fencing in 2001, the construction of border fencing has unfolded in tandem with massive investments in surveillance and Border Patrol staffing.  Enabled by waivers suspending 37 laws and regulations governing federal construction projects, the Department of Homeland Security has planned and constructed the border wall with unprecedented speed and with an unprecedented lack of oversight. As early reports of fence-induced flooding, environmental destruction, and human rights violations prefigure the wall’s future impacts, I argue that the border wall is situated in a complex of security technologies imagined to secure the nation as a whole. Thus, the negative impacts of fence construction are felt locally, while the benefits of physical barriers remain undetermined.  Billed as necessary to the very survival of the United States, this scalar disjuncture works to localize and further marginalize the negative consequences of border construction, with significant and lasting consequences for the cultural, political, economic, and physical geographies of the Mexico-US borderlands.