Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Once welcoming, borderlands now forever divided

A borderline that for generations was like a picket fence between neighbors is now a wedge between old friends. At legal entry points along the U.S.-Mexico border, lines of cars often stretch for blocks as people wait to cross into and out of Mexico. Between the ports, most flimsy, barbed-wire cattle fences have been replaced by hulking steel walls or chest-high vehicle barriers made of railroad ties. It's tougher than ever to cross, legally or illegally. And that has altered the borderlands for people who live, visit, ranch or own businesses there. Mountains, valleys and canyons that were a playground for hikers, birders and hunters have been scarred by illegal border crossers and the federal agents chasing them. Ranchers who used to tip their hats to illegal border crossers now carry high-powered rifles, fearful of possible encounters with smugglers...more

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