Thursday, September 29, 2011

US-Mexico Borderlands

The primaries and 2012 presidential race are quickly approaching, and hot button issues like immigration are at the center of the discussion. The Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey compiled “Inside Intelligence: Bordering on...” depicting insiders’ predictions regarding how Rick Perry might do in the primaries and/or presidential race, focusing on the controversial subject of immigration.

Read Ramsey’s collection of verbatim comments regarding Perry’s support for in-state college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants, Perry's call for a ban on sanctuary cities and his opposition to a border fence here.

If you are interested in borderlands history and natural history; immigration and environmental policy and politics; and conservation of wildlife and natural resources Krista Schlyer’s Continental Divide: Borderlands Wildlife, People, and the Wall (TAMU 2012) belongs on your bookshelf.

Writer and photographer Krista Schlyer contends that the remoteness of the borderlands of the United States and Mexico from most U.S. citizens’ lives, coupled with a news media focus on illegal activity and drug violence, has left many people with an incomplete picture of the southern reaches of four states as well as the northern states of Mexico. Yet, as she shows in Continental Divide, a largely unknown natural area stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico provides safe haven for many wild species of plants and animals.

Documenting the changes to the ecosystems and human communities along the border as the wall was built, Schlyer realized that the impacts of immigration policy on wildlife, on landowners, and on border towns were not fully understood by either policy makers or the general public. The wall destroyed the ancestral routes of wildlife at the same time it re-routed human traffic through the most pristine and sensitive of wildlands, causing more destruction, conflict, and death without solving the original problem.

In her photo essay, Schlyer helps readers understand the full impact and consequences of a policy debated and formed far from the site of its implementation. Her photographs and experiences bring home how much is at stake, whatever one thinks of the efficacy of building walls between nations.

Copyright: Krista Schlyer

Look for Krista Schlyer’s Continental Divide: Borderlands Wildlife, People, and the Wall in Fall 2012 from Texas A&M University Press.