This blog reports from “the field,” by Anthropologists Miguel Diaz-Barriga and Margaret E. Dorsey, on the construction of the border wall and, more generally, on immigration issues in South Texas. In this blog, we plan to document the construction of the border wall and its impacts on the culture, the environment and immigration policy.
Our title, “A Nation Divided” refers to the division within U.S. society over the construction of a border fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. According to the Pew Research Center survey (2007), the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) construction of a border fence evenly divides U.S. residents. In areas along the border, including our fieldsite (Hidalgo County) in South Texas, mayors, public officials and residents express strong opposition to the fence’s construction. A “Nation Divided” also refers to the ways that Mexican American residents of South Texas articulate pride in Mexican culture, yet fully identify as belonging to the United States. Finally, for many residents of South Texas, the most pertinent divide is that with national policymakers who do not appear to understand border culture and the Lower Rio Grande Valley border itself. This research examines such varied meanings of a nation divided. The research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.