Between President Trump’s Border Wall And The Rio Grande Lies A ‘No Man’s Land’

Between President Trump’s Border Wall And The Rio Grande Lies A ‘No Man’s Land’

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Enlarge this image Grass and shrubs take over the closed Fort Brown Memorial Golf Course in Brownsville, Texas. The course was original built by the University of Texas system but the facilities are on the south side of the border wall. Golfers didn’t like having to drive through a gate and being walled off from the rest of the city and eventually stopped coming to the course. Verónica G. Cárdenas for NPR  A visit to the now-defunct Fort Brown Memorial Golf Course in Brownsville, Texas, is a cautionary tale of how Trump’s border wall can create dead zones. The clubhouse is shuttered, par signs are fading, and the once-manicured greens are fields of weeds.  In 2008, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, working with the University of Texas at Brownsville, built a security fence on the southern edge of the campus that effectively walled off the popular golf course from the rest of the city.  Golfers stopped coming, and the course, which was operated by the university, eventually went bankrupt.  “What used to be a very active place, very friendly place, for students and for our golf team and for winter Texans has become a deserted, sad, desolate no man’s land,” says Juliet Garcia, the former university president, who fiercely fought the border wall. She stands in the empty parking lot, littered with trash and palm fronds.  “None of us come over here,” Garcia says, looking around sadly. “You don’t feel protected in any part of the land that is south of the wall.” Enlarge this image Juliet García, former president of the University of Texas at Brownsville, stands behind the border wall. Verónica G. Cárdenas for NPR  When the government constructs its border barrier in California, Arizona and New Mexico, it runs along the arrow-straight land boundary with Mexico. But in Texas, that boundary is the meandering Rio Grande. And because of flooding concerns, the border wall is often built some distance away — as much as a mile north of the river. That leaves thousands of acres between the water and the wall — all of it American soil — as no man’s land.  Landowners fear the wall will effectively sever their acreage from the United States, leaving it abandoned, lawless and unprofitable.  Trump has pledged to build more than 500 miles of new border wall by 2021, if he wins a second term. On Thursday, the Pentagon informed Congress it would reprogram $3.8 billion — that was earmarked for aircraft, vehicles and ships — to pay for 177 additional miles of barrier to be built along the western desert border.  While some applaud a 30-foot-tall structure to keep out immigrants and drug runners, down in the Rio Grande Valley it has run into opposition. So far, 55 property owners have gone to court to try to block the survey and construction crews. Enlarge this image The existing border wall divides property adjacent to Rive