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To Build A Fence

The New York Times reports today on the Sabal Palm Audubon Center in Brownsville, Texas. Thanks to millions of dollars in investment, the center has turned into a mecca for palms, cacti, rare birds, and other species, as well as a major tourist attraction. But there's a problem: Because the center is nestled right along the Rio Grande, there are concerns that the border fence under consideration will run to the north of it, cutting it off from Brownsville. This one of many difficulties presented by the border fence proposal--you can't build a fence in a river and you can't build it on the Mexico side of the river, and in some places it's impractical to build it right on the northern shore of the river. So the federal government is contemplating what looks to most people like a cession of land:

Sabal Palm lives from rumor to rumor, gleaned mostly from Mr. Paz’s chats with border agents and a proposed map contained in a draft report by the federal government. There will be a fence along the levee. A fence along the levee with a gate. A fence along the levee with a gate, and Sabal Palm will have a key.

None of these eases the concerns that Anne Brown, the executive director of Audubon Texas, has about insurance, city services--the sanctuary’s very existence. “Do we check passports?” she asks. “Since the fence becomes the new border, what are we? Are we in Mexico?”

--Josh Patashnik