Border wall at border state park
Article/journal, Migration & borders, Human rights & justice, North America, Harney Program

The American Border Wall: A History of Legal Division

This article investigates the role the law has played in the construction of the US–Mexico border wall. It explores two episodes of wall-building in American history: the first surrounding the adoption of the Act of August 19, 1935, and the second the adoption of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, both authorizing the erection of a fence at the U.S.-Mexico border. The article observes that for each episode, the law provided the sites for the deployment of narratives that constructed Mexicans as “others,” instituting legal precedents that informed increasingly explicit and ambitious legal provisions for the construction of a border wall.