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The not-so-Great Wall

13 August 2011

Arizona Daily Star (10-August-2011)

A 40-foot stretch of mesh border fence east of Lukeville in Southwestern Arizona was knocked over Sunday by rainwater rushing through a wash.

This is the first time any part of this 5.2-mile stretch of fence has been knocked down by floodwaters since it was built in 2007-2008, but it is the latest in a series of challenges for the barrier during rainstorms, said Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Superintendent Lee Baiza.

The design does not allow for the free flow of water in natural washes intersecting the border, he said. In washes, the fence has grate openings at the bottom that are 6 inches high and 24 inches wide with 1-by-3-inch bars.

“The fence acts as a dam and forms a gradual waterfall,” Baiza said. “It starts to pile up on the bottom as the grass, the leaves, the limbs start plugging up. The water starts backing up and going higher. The higher it gets, the more force it has behind it.”

In October 2007, before the fence was built by Kiewit Western Co. for $21.3 million, Organ Pipe officials told the U.S. Department of Homeland Security they were worried that the design would impede the movement of floodwater across the border; that debris would get trapped in the fence; that water would pool; and that the lateral flow of water would cause damage to the environment and patrol roads, according to a report issued by Organ Pipe in August 2008 about flooding that summer.

In response, the Border Patrol issued a final environmental assessment with a finding of no significant impact. It also said the fence would not impede the natural flow of water or cause flooding.

On behalf of Madre Natura, spokes-deity Tlaloc issued a statement reading “Some people ain’t no damn good…”
3 Comments leave one →
  1. 13 August 2011 9:21 am

    Just as a poorly designed fence will fall down to the weight of flood waters, there is no fence that can be built that will keep the weight of humanity from finding their way to the land of milk and honey. Instead of wasting millions to keep people out, we should invest in an immigration processing center at our Southern Border, like we did for the Europeans in the late 19th and 20th Century at Ellis Island. Idealistically, it is a sound suggestion, but the reality is that “it will never happen”. When I wake up from my dream, I realize our poor huddled masses are not wanted!!

  2. Francisco permalink
    13 August 2011 6:41 pm

    “Just as a poorly designed fence will fall down to the weight of flood waters, there is no fence that can be built that will keep the weight of humanity from finding their way to the land of milk and honey. Instead of wasting millions to keep people out, we should invest in an immigration processing center at our Southern Border, like we did for the Europeans in the late 19th and 20th Century at Ellis Island. ”

    ***********************

    That is not going to happen with the current economy and unemployment rate. Walls won’t keep humanity out of the land of milk and honey, but lack of jobs sure will.

    E-Verify and fines against employers who hire illegal workers will do what steel and stone walls can’t.

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