Frontline Insight: Why build a border wall?

by Valeria Cardi | @vlr_crd | Thomson Reuters Foundation

In 1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there were only 15 border walls around the world. Today, there are 70 of them.

Ten years after the Secure Fence Act, which authorised the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to spend $1.2 billion for the construction of a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, we interviewed Reece Jones - author of “Border Walls: Security and the War on Terror in the United States, India, and Israel” - to try to understand why countries across the world are increasingly investing in such barriers.

Jones, who is also a Professor of Geography at the University of Hawaii, has been studying border walls for the past 15 years - some well known, like the US / Mexico fence, and some not, like the wall between Russia and Norway. He reveals border disputes few people know about and explains how fences help or hurt.

“Historically, borders played a role as a military protection. Today, United States is not worried that Mexico is going to invade the United States. It’s a symbol that the government is doing something,” Jones said.

Frontline Insight is a new opinion series from the Thomson Reuters Foundation in which speakers from the Frontline Club in London share their views on a range of topics.

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