The Border Wall is a new documentary from filmmaker Wayne Ewing about the attempt by the Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Michael Chertoff to erect 670 miles of walls along the 2000 mile southern border of the United States in the waning days of the Bush administration.

The Border Wall examines the effect of the Wall where it began as a double fence in San Diego in the 1990’s. Local activists argue that militarization of the border and the walls have simply driven undocumented aliens to cross through more dangerous terrain, causing the deaths of over 5000 people. However, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., CA) – the author of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, claims that there was a 50% drop in crime in San Diego County after the walls went up along the border, and that the wall saves lives.

In Arizona, The Border Wall looks at the seven miles of wall recently built near Sasabe, and discovers a horde of illegal immigrants simply going around the end of the wall into mountainous terrain where the filmmakers find two Mexican ladies lost and terrified. Undocumented immigrants dying of thirst in the desert often find help from No More Deaths, an organization of volunteers dedicated to saving lives in the desert of Southern Arizona, and the film follows them patrolling the desert, and cleaning up the immense amounts of trash left behind by migrants.

Also in Arizona, The Border Wall examines a legal challenge by the Defenders of Wildlife to wall construction in the fragile San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area which was at first successful in the fall of 2006 in persuading a federal judge to halt all construction. But Secretary Chertoff invoked the extraordinary power given him by Congress with the Real ID Act of 2005 to waive any law that he determines stands in his way of building the wall. Chertoff waived 19 laws.

The Defenders of Wildlife show the filmmakers the fragile beauty of the San Pedro River, the only free-flowing river left in the Southwest where wall construction has resumed, and explain their constitutional challenge to the Real Act, a challenge that the Supreme Court of the United States recently refused to hear.

Secretary Chertoff also recently invoked the Real ID Act in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas to waive 36 federal laws in order to build over 70 miles of walls quickly before he is quite possibly out of a job with a new administration in January, 2009. The Department of Homeland Security has sued the City of Eagle Pass to put a wall through the city park and golf course, and sued the University of Texas at Brownsville to put a wall through the campus, and sued scores of landowners along the border who refused to immediately give up their land to the wall.

Environmentalists are outraged. Even the US Government’s Fish & Wildlife Service objects to the wall after spending 100 million dollars and forty years to create a wildlife corridor along the Rio Grande River for birds and endangered species like the ocelot and jaguarondi. A world class birding and eco-tourism area is about to disrupted by an 18 foot wall that will keep wildlife from their only source of water, the Rio Grande River.

Towns and cities along the Rio Grande from Brownsville to El Paso are doing everything legally within their power to stop the wall which opponents argue is ineffective, destructive to wildlife, and an offence to our neighbors in Mexico. Production of The Border Wall continues to examine just how far the Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Chertoff will go by the end of fiscal year 2008 in fulfilling some people’s dream and other’s nightmare of a wall across our southern border.

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El Muro by Ramon Melendez & Jose Vitela is performed by Las Palmas de Durango of Dallas, Texas