Border walls are compelling visual symbols, but do they keep people out?
February 15, 2019
President Trump’s national emergency declaration to build the border wall “is not a solution to the challenge of border security for our country,” says a Virginia Tech international affairs expert.
"It’s another troubling act in his self-created drama of 'invasion' by 'monsters' on the U.S.'s border with Mexico. The casualties this time are the U.S. Constitution, and the rule of law," said Gerard Toal a professor in the School of Public and International Affairs.
In his recent commentary published in the Washington Post, Toal explains that since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the number of new border walls across the globe has risen from 15 to around 70. Intractable conflicts, the global war on terrorism, and populist cries to “take control of our borders” have fueled the construction of concrete walls, barriers and barbed-wire fences.
“Border walls are political technologies not migration control technologies. They work as metaphors and slogans. They do not work as solutions to complex problems."
Gerard Toal is a professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech’s campus in the National Capital Region. He is the author or co-author of 75 journal articles and 23 book chapters on territorial conflicts, U.S. foreign policy, de facto states, popular culture, media and critical geopolitics. His latest book, Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest for Ukraine and the Caucasus, is a study of two Russian invasions of neighboring states, Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, and the circumstances surrounding these events, including U.S. involvement in both states.
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