Stuck on the Border: Surveying the US-Mexico Border

us border survey
There is one issue that seems to come up consistently when discussing the southern border of the United States – where does American end and Mexico start? Fences do line many areas of the border, but at other intersections of the land there is no barrier because of poor planning. Whether or not you agree with the idea of a fence lining our southern border, it must be understood that surveying this area of land is difficult and that many citizens find it hard to deal with.

That is, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, has become a major concern for people living on the border whose land has not been surveyed correctly:

“The Homeland Security Department last year put up a tall steel barrier across the fields from [Pamela] Taylor’s home. The government calls it the border fence, but it was erected about a quarter-mile north of the Rio Grande, leaving Taylor’s home between the fence and the river. Her two acres now lie on a strip of land that isn’t Mexico but doesn’t really seem like the United States either.”

The issue is one of security for Taylor, according to the article, but it’s also about knowing where her land lies. With part of America and part of Mexico in her backyard, Taylor’s land is technically in a precarious no man’s land. This occurred because of poor planning by civil engineers and land surveyors.

“But here, where the border’s eastern edge meets the Gulf of Mexico, the urgency of national security met headlong with geographical reality. The Rio Grande twists through Brownsville and surrounding areas, and planners had to avoid building on the flood plain. So the barriers in some places went up more than a mile from the river.While the border fence almost everywhere else divides Mexico and the U.S., here it divides parts of the city.”