The Border in the Balance

Endangered species advocate Michael Finkelstein thinks a border fence could cause more environmental problems than it solves. By Charles Bethea

Finkelstein: The wall could prevent some kinds of illegal off-road vehicle traffic, but the U.S. Border Patrol should be held to the same standard. Some of the worst abuses come from enforcement activities, which would not stop at the wall. The trash caused by migrants is certainly a concern, but trash can be picked up. Roads, trails, and fragmented habitat may take years to restore. I don't think we can blame the migrants for the situation—they are crossing the desert in hopes of a better life and unfortunately leave behind a lot of waste. However, we are concerned with the root causes of this backcountry migration and the subsequent ecological destruction. Really, who is to blame for that?  

Plenty: Can a compromise be made between national security and environmental health? What might it be?

Finkelstein: If trade between the U.S. and Latin American countries were equalized, if the causes of mass immigration were addressed, and if some kind of temporary guest worker program could be worked out, the problems on the border would lessen. The Border Patrol would only be looking for terrorists and illegal activities, not trying to weed through the hordes of people in our desert trying to determine who's who. The impacts from immigration would lessen and the subsequent destruction from enforcement would necessarily follow. It’s important to realize that the border is much longer than the boundary between the U.S. and Mexico. National security should consider both of our international borders and both of our coasts. It's unrealistic to think that this 700-mile border wall is going to keep out terror; it's unrealistic to think it’s going to keep out drugs or people. The only thing it will stop is the biological and cultural diversity that makes the border region so rich and interesting.

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» A Border Fence and the Environment from
Here's a real interesting look at how building a fence on the border would affect the environment in that area-- halting wildlife migration, causing problems with fieldwork access, and loss of topsoils and vegetation. [Read More]


"accelerated erosion, habitat fragmentation, and the spread and infestations of non-native species."

This is exactly what is happening to US as HUMANS with out that fence! We should really fence the entire border. This is the lamest excuse ever for not fencing in this portion of border. What a libral and slanted take on this issue. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Nature, but this is rediculus. I will stop reading Plenty now.

I would take it you're indian cause they're the only ones that have claim over the land you claim your own.

Ok this is evil but I'll say it anyway.

Why don't we just let them all in. Draft them into the army and invade Mexico? Then Fix their economy and take all that oil they have stashed away.

I have never seen a Mexican doing a job that an "American" would do... so I dont know where this idea of losing jobs to immigrants came from? I dont see a lot of "Americans" lining up to pick oranges...

If you have never seen Americans losing jobs in the construction industry to Mexicans, then you don't get around much... but as long as you are okay, then that's all that matters, eh? FYI, Americans in construction are producing 30% of the gross domestic product and farmers CANNOT FIND laborers to pick fruit, they don't want those jobs, they want ours. Why don't you get real and stop lying all the time, just to have something to say? You boys have become as dumb as clucks in this country and that's a fact. Just don't have any babies and maybe we'll all be better off.

What racist ass idiots. Try starting from scratch and making a living in Mexico. You would not make it very far. Why can't Mexicans come to the US for a better life? You were all immigrants at one point too and no one asked you for papers when you came to North America. Just because you were fortunate to be born in a richer country with rich parents doesn't make you any better than anyone else. Some people's privileges need to be taken away or they will never understand. Keep being closed minded because it won't get you anywhere and you don't deserve it either, but hopefully your parents' money will get you by.

Wow, I am a US citizen and I am ashamed of my people.

First off the problem is illegal aliens not immigrants. This country cannot take in the whole world that is so stupid, do you really think we would hasten our own demise. The racist thing is so old and a very lame excuse at best.Mexico I am sorry to say is not our responsibility. I wasn't born here but my parents earned the right to come here through the front door. There are 18,000 illegal alien crimminals in California jails right now, and growing. Get an education on the subject. Look up the NAU, the SPP, and NAFTA see where we are headed.

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