Broken Promises: The construction of a border wall 12 miles long represents a significant setback that fuels anti-immigrant rhetoric and harms the environment.

October 5, 2023


Alianza Americas is disappointed by yesterday’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security to continue construction of a 12 mile long border wall along the Rio Grande Valley in Starr County, Texas. To proceed with this work, the government had to waive 26 administrative rules, many of them related to environmental protection.


The Biden-Harris administration has pledged since their presidential campaign to suspend construction of the border wall, calling it an ineffective strategy to control the number of people crossing the border into the United States. When Joe Biden was a candidate for the U.S. presidency, his commitment to the public was to implement an intelligent, comprehensive and humane immigration policy. This promise is being broken. At the beginning of his administration, President Biden issued a proclamation suspending construction of the wall and instructing that the resources earmarked for it be allocated to other purposes. Nearly three years later, the administration has reversed its course, bowing to pressure from anti-immigrant white supremacist groups by announcing the construction of this small section of the wall. Rather than being an effective policy, it represents a significant setback with a high symbolic value and fuels anti-immigrant rhetoric. We expected much more from this administration and its campaign promises.


The wall is not only a failed strategy to address immigration, it is also an infrastructure that causes environmental damage. The construction of the wall has serious consequences for the ecosystem of this region. We are concerned about the impact this construction will have on the wildlife that inhabit this region, disrupting their ability to move and live in this transboundary territory. In addition, the arid terrain of the region and the construction of the wall will have a grave impact on water resources. 


Our hope was  that this administration would not resort to this desperate measure to appease concerns about increased migration flows and increasing numbers of deaths by drug overdose in the United States. The Biden-Harris administration should have been a government of vanguard policies that understands that migration does not stop with a border, but by addressing its economic, social and political causes.Real and sufficient options for regularized migration should be enacted, including expanding mechanisms to request humanitarian protection. These situations do not originate at the border and therefore do not stop at the border.


Fentanyl trafficking and the unauthorized entry of people across the southern U.S. border cannot be controlled with medieval strategies. Drug trafficking requires complex public health and drug interventions, as most drugs enter the United States as part of its vast trades with Mexico. There is much to be done in drug rehabilitation and prevention in the country. This wall will not only result in more deaths and disappearances of migrants, but environmental damage as well.




Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America.

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