« 99% Invisible

294- Border Wall

2018-02-06 | 🔗

When current President Donald Trump took office, he promised to build an “an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall." The first part of this episode by Radio Diaries tells two stories of what happens when, instead of people crossing the border, the border crosses the people. Then, in part two of the show, Avery Trufelman takes a closer look at eight current designs that have been turned into prototypes near the border in California.

Border Wall

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars, you didn't build a wall let me that ceiling up. That is a well that if you get up there, you not coming down raise one week into his presidency. Donald Trump signed an executive order to begin. Building, a wall between the? U S and Mexico trumps It will be quote an impenetrable physical tall, powerful before southern border wall campaigns. Slogans are easy. Reality is harder. That's Joe Rich from radio diaries on this episode with the help of radio diaries, we until a few stories, the physical border on the southern edge of the United States and what happens when instead, people crossing the border, the border crosses the people, Joe Richmond, we'll take it from here,
In two thousand six President Bush signed a law to begin building an eighteen foot, high fence along a few key parts of the Eu S Mexico border the project. By different names, operation, keep her in California operations. Safeguard in Arizona and in Texas. They called it. Operation hold the line, today, that fence looks like a somewhat random dotted line, covers bring about a third of entire border, and the border fences always been controversial, but it's based on a very human impulse to have an act. Fiscal barrier that marks the imaginary one on the man. It's a simple idea and like most things, it turned out to not be so simple. Closes PAMELA Taylor figure, so Can you tell me where you are right now I'm in my living room, I'm looking. At the window? I my friend yard and beyond? That is the fence
It is a huge ion about twenty feet: tall, defenceless but in their by homeland security My Taylor is eighty six years old, I have noticed she has a slight british accent but she's an american citizen, afterward Two. She married an American. They moved to a small brick house outside Outsider Brownsville Texas, the house houses in right now, she's been there for more than sixty years and that houses technically in the U S, but for the past six years it's been the wrong side of the fence we make it can side the fence. In front of my home. So You just go over this for many people, thinking about border offence. They just assume it's on the boy. No, it's not true. Rio Grande River is illegal border between the: U S and Mexico, but the border. France, doesn't follow all the natural contours at that river if they found
The river eight would be a winding hands were as now it is a strange fence and therefore they did not need to install that much fence And in the beginning we were told this sense was going to go right through my living room. Luckily they ended up building it, but a mile north. Today. Taylor has about a half dozen neighbours in the exact same situation is her down the road there's also a farm and a golf course all on the mexican side of the fence. We ve gotten We can't go on in a trouble about it? So how would you describe where you are living? Whack no man's land an ice I firmly believe that I shouldn't be paying taxes
no man's land between two countries. That's what our next stories about the United States is. Those big today as it was at this time yesterday, President Johnson, and the president's ideas orders of Mexico met at the border. Today, ended in old dispute, the Rio group river has been the border between the? U S, Mexico! Never! Since Texas became a state, the problem is reverse can move and that's exactly. What happened in eighteen, sixty four. Torrential rains caused the river to jump its banks and go south all of us. The border was in a different place. What TAT meant is that Texas, again, the square mile of land. It was the Chinese all name for the scrubby desert plant, the crew there, the chinese was a thorn in the side of U S: Mexico relations for a century and then, finally, fifth, years ago, the? U S, if the land back to Mexico, but by that time thousand
people had moved at the Chinese are made at their home and is where the story begins. My name is mighty. Okay near three, you grew up in their show me area during the fifty cent sixties. I live one straight away from the river which whistler division between the two countries. The river was just more like a way that you have to cross to get to where you needed to be there, was a baseball team the mexican side, and then it was the team on bail, Paso side, and they would just signal each other through whistles and they would cross. It was just life life with a river between This is an interview. Is part of the journey saw oral history project. So, MR in a hoarse, how could I ask you to describe the neighbourhood use? They were a lot of tenements, another small, I hate to say: checks
but that's what they were. They didn't have any electricity nor running water, but you be one room and there you build another room, and then you built another one room after the others. They become a guess better off. My name is Victor. This man, Garcia, Garcia Clan, goes back about three hundred and eighty six years Syria, a lot of Mexicans for the Interior, thought that the chinese eyes, which basically square mile of land. Thought it was the largest California and that it probably had oil and the so every time there was an issue between two countries. Mexico would, of course, bring up the Chinese that my name is Paul Kramer and a distorted, Vanderbilt University, researching the history of autonomous all in Mexico. Oh, the Chinese are represented illegally occupied territory, but in the United States
very few Americans had even heard of it and then in the nation sixties that all changed now really on expect way. This is obviously need today, a new special crisis in Cuba. This government, as promised, has maintained the closest silence of the soviet military, build up on the island of Cuba. The cuban missile crisis, and specifically the fact that Mexico does not cut off its ties to Castro, the Candy administration, is very concerned that Mexico could be vulnerable in the cold war, suddenly theirs. Real willingness to remedy the Chinese all dispute to use it as a kind of bargaining chip, and so the big question Is the residents of this tiny patch of land? What's going to happen to them, letter from the international? By do we want a commission to Mr Luis De Rivera? Dear sir, we advise at the appraisal of your proper
would be undertaken as soon as practical preparatory to acquisition by the federal government is authorized by the S. Kids with kids We were eavesdropping summits and we heard there was going to be removal. We member our fathers dumping around the kitchen saint bearskin up, whether nor they can't we were mexican by heritage. But we understood that we American by nationality. People were given choice of going back to Mexico and only one man that we know of actually accepted to go back. Everybody else no, but we all had to be out by October nineteen Sixty fly. This is an interview with W E. Would former government real estate of prey
turn the Chinese. Our settlement, how did most of the people feel about leaving their homes was mixed. There's one case that I can recall this lady. I had a very nice home better than the rest of them in the neighborhood. You ve not well, let us in and she couldn't speak. English speaks yes enough to get by. And she told me that she was not going to give her house to those God, damn Mexicans in Mexico and that they can go to hell and I'm going to keep my house and I will get my guns out and I will fight then, the day when it came to move the United States marshals picked her up bodily and put her in a car
and put her furniture and storage mining Assange genius. It was a very big disappointment because they did not pay for the house. They paid us for the land. My father had just built for extra rooms. In our house we had central heeding heathen half, though the bricks made special authority with the hay, because the house was gonna be that much that much warmer than nice whatever, and we had to leave all that one by one the family started moving out and what was left behind were empty shells of homes in the windows world where did up and then yellow ribbon was placed on them so that we couldn't even going to the backyards. So it looked like a crime scene with this yellow tape. All over until the only family left was ours. Hours historically was the last one.
And I remember my dad said: don't look back. You are forbidden from looking back and of those he has to welcome at the U S mexican border. For President Johnson, understandable d, I thought that, arising together, the saddle, essentially all border dispute, every man thousands and thousands of people on top of the bridge building, and I could Johnson, like it's him sitting at the table and yes or thus for Europe. But if you don't get a thousand, you ve already done this thing. He doesn't have a young, so pretty the whole of the years White House with congressmen and senators- and everybody was here. This was a big thing. Predictable river had been converted into a royal source of water, far mexican an American
alike beyond any kind, and to make it clear to those who need it by disseminating succeed, Mexico and United States jointly sponsor the digging of a summit line channel, that would make the river go where the authorities were to go in terms of maintaining the boundary that they want. After speeches, the two men walked over to press the button with detonator, retaining all about a mile away and send the watered down its new check at the appointed time the two presidents approach, this black box, that's when set up on the bridge which has these two red buttons, and this was a hit. The buttons and debt need these explosives to release the mighty Rio Grande. Into its new channel. In fact, this just a puff of smoke, nothing happens and so very quickly. Technicians bulldoze the dam. And release the river completing the ceremony
second a hundred years body. It's finally done. Mexico has its basis. Scruff land back low gradualism decide what to do and the river is once again the international boundary. It was forty million dollars, but its very tidy. This way, Jack, Odin I'm busy news now basil Well I'll, show you the river is now encased in cement that poor thing it's about five feet. Ass. It looks like a mighty creek, where we to go. It was wide. Sometimes it had quite a bit of water and that would ripple across There's only so much control a man can do on a river.
Later. I personally think that There is going to do what mother Nature has taught it to do to move. While I woke up this morning, do the Dorado About that I was not at all magical the Gaza, and I was born in America, El Paso, however, that is not the job of the song. Your hearing right now is called the Chinese all blueness written in recorded by Bob Burns in the Tec words in nineteen sixty three the year before the Chinese all was handed back to Mexico. This
It was produced by radio diaries. That's Joe Richmond, Nellie Gillis, SARA Kate, Kramer and Shapiro the bridge George withheld historian Paul Kramer, because Richard areas is one of the founding members of red Utopia and one of the true gems of public radio. I implore you to subscribe to thereupon care It's really for your own good apron, many historical documentaries, but they specialise in giving reporters to ordinary people with Extror stories and turning their audio diaries into unforgettable radio. They busily one. Every award in journalism in when we started re Utopia. I was so honoured that they wanted to work to bring you to areas is not part of your podcast diet. You
missing out find them at radio diaries, dot, org or radio Toby. I got. At the tail end of twenty seventeen, our own Amory Trautmann took a trip to the border herself to look at the architecture of the war The war and the new border, while prototypes what to her about what she found right after that we often don't think of winter as a time of growth or creation. But if you think about it, it's the perfect time to greet your own website, because it cooped up your thinking about being productive and now square space can help you do it with squares. Based can take your cool ideas, you ve creative content, your services, goods, and you can turn them into a beautiful website in just a few clicks. Does it because there is to use template?
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for a design made of quota unquote other materials. They were to be between eighteen and thirty feet tall from this since they received customs and border protection selected. Eight in turn them into prototypes Master Toby. Our own Avery treatment went down to see What they look like we're alive, no eleven. I found myself in a crowd of reporters. From Reuters and the guardian and new vision and fox. All been given a hard hats and yellow vest, and we all piled into an air different than what we were brought out to construction saying cameramen, unpacked and hoisted their video cameras like great mechanical carcasses. Anchors applied fresh, make up and get warm ups, And then we swarmed around Roy Perry out all of us going to get our microphones in his face for Roy Oral, whilst in the area of the eye L, L, a r d
Very was the acting chief patrol agent for the? U S: border patrol and sandy agar sector. He As these eight prototypes for new border wall between the United States and Mexico, the prototype, near completion. Seven of the eight have been completed and the eighth one should be completed by the end of these eight sample. Rectangles of border wall are massive aegis, thirty feet tall its striking and person if they were actually formed into one continuous wall. They block. Of the mountains and the distance by now probably seen pictures of these prototypes, far made of concrete for our made of other materials. One is
right, blue one- has moulding on the side to make the concrete look like cobblestone, half of them of rounded tops to make it harder to grip envy. The termination of the ultimate design is based on the testing of evaluation. We have three specific requirements which are looking at these subterranean humility to dig, underneath it prototypes the impenetrable ready, the aspect of being able to breach in some way degrade the prototype and scalability. The set up of the eight different prototype certainly looked like a design competition, and so I asked Vittorio will there be a winner here would be a winner while also the winner is the. U S. Government is going to be us in that this is going to enhance our border security nicely played conceptually what we may have, as we could have a singular design that is going to be utilised in some second along the border, or we may have a combination of the designs pair together and apply different areas along the border. It's not exactly clear what will happen with the prototypes customs and border
protection never specified if they were intended for the higher border or parts of the border or to fortify existing walls, because, of course, the part from didn't mention in his campaign. Is that over one? Third of the? U S, Mexico Border is already. Of her by a wall where a barrier of some kind so now we are here in this administration which ran on the platform. Is that I'm going to build a wall and somebody clubs of yea? Finally, someone's come to build a wall was already six hundred fifty miles wall in this is Ronald Rail, professor of architecture, and you see Berkeley and author of the book border wall as architecture in his book. He right about the long history of the borderline, it has a long life and it's been around for some time. It's evolved from stone, kerins these are two stones placed along the border to save where the border was because it it's the frontier originally or else as no one knew where that borderline actually was an engineer from both Mexico and the United States went to this.
End of no man's land frontier zone after one thousand eight hundred and forty eight just to figure out where to place these demarcation stones, stones were put up in later monuments, fences were constructed. Mostly the fences would talk to keep cattle, how things there ranches on both sides. But eventually some of those fences became more aggressive, especially between cities, particularly between sunny Cithaeron Antipater. In nineteen. Ninety, the army court engineers came to that Tijuana border. They brought over forty thousand carbon still corrugated planks, each plank twelve feet long and a quarter inch thick. These it made for the Vietnam WAR as portable landing mats for helicopters, and these have cotter landing. That's were turned up on their sides into the first official border wall, more and more landing. That's were added, and today there over sixty miles of this landing that wall and then in us
parts of the border, other kinds of walls and fences were built of different materials, all varying based on the topography, there's pedestrian fences that allow for visibility on both sides, vehicular France's remit for cars not to cross in his book realists. For a dozen types of border, while one that's very expensive is called the floating fence, and this is here in the abalone dunes in California, the floating fence syn over huge mountainous dunes and has these mechanical buttresses that keep it from sinking into this and so it's designed to be lifted and placed back on the dunes. Otherwise, if you just let it go and just sinks into the do at the met, the border, while is already a building project, with significant weight behind it it on, better by laws that regular building projects have to abide by, and that's particularly because of these secure fence act which passed in two thousand six back when George W Bush was president secure fence act of two thousand and six was created so that it could you serve
Any other law that existed in the United States so any environmental protection laws. This is more important. Native american heritage acts. This is more anyway life at the school fence. Act is more important than any of those, and so the war can be constructed on inhibited, which brings us back to those new prototypes that are being considered and the press jacket went to back in October, the borders very dynamic, its fluid its dynamic there's crime of some some form happening every day. Her the prototypes, will help influence beef future develops future development of our border infrastructure system when their quest for proposals went out. Architects were like what do we do a number of
could Hecksher submitted some designs for border walls and other architects submitted blank sheets of paper to waste judges time, but ultimately, customs and border protection didn't choose any architects at all. These prototypes, like the vast vast majority of the built environment, bridges tunnels or it houses. Airports, luxury apartments in prisons were mostly made by general contractors. These giant construction firms are very practical. They safely erect huge structures on time and on budget. Their goal is to appease the client, which in this case, is the: U S, government, they prototypes were manufactured by six different companies. Would you mind walking through the companies are omitted? A further to Mr Da Silva dont know them Ralph to say as the spokesperson for border patrol, and he wasn't quite familiar with the construction companies either. The best he could do was read them off. The list will be ignored
deal could, though, Sterling K W are Fisher Sand, shall I really have to be fair at the time I didn't know these companies either I had never heard of them before, but I ll we been in. One of their structure somewhere in one of their tunnels or airports. Are office buildings, The company is that made. These walls are w g, eight and sons from Mississippi Elton North America and israeli company, based in Maryland COD Reconstruction Alabama, Texas, sterling construction of Houston. Cato you are construction from Arizona and Fisher Sand and gravel from Arizona. Now because of the wall prototypes people know these companies, and they're talking about their relationships to weeks. Have
I returned from the border, I went to an open city council meeting where they were considering passing an ordinance to forbid contracting with any of the company's bidding on the border wall thing my colleagues advance for supporting our resolution on the border wall and make sure that none of tax dollars are spent being invested with any contracts any business that is building this divisive law that will do nothing to make a safer. Similar measures have also been proposed and other municipalities around the country, including New York, city and allay, and they and floated on the state level in Arizona, California, Illinois, New York, Rhode, Island and Wisconsin. This is our pro on the city of Oakland, doing business with contractors who build the tramp, a border wall and the city of our should have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with it, but there also critics of these kinds of ordinances like sure Smith are represented,
from associated general contractors or agency who stood up at that Oakland City Council meeting and testified on behalf of the contractors. Freedom of choice, as you see, opposes any policy or regulation prohibits the contractor from bidding a construction project, because contractors should be able to choose what projects they wish to bid on without fear of reprisals discrimination, but the ornaments past and now and he's entering contracts with Sleeve Oakland say to build a tunnel or a condom. Complex, we'll be required to declare that they are not a part of border while construction and do not plan to be in this. Goes beyond those companies already involved in the prototypes, because new border construction is happening separately from those eight prototypes on the sandy. I go to you on a border. When I talk to customs and border protection people, Their thinking that you know he's the president. This is what he wants, so we're gonna we're going to follow his orders. So they're, going through the motions their building is prototypes, but when it
come down to it. That's not gonna work, that's Melissa Del Bosco, a reporter from the Texas observer and according to an article she published here there are already plans and motion for the first new section of the border wall, which will run Ro Wildlife, refuge in South Texas. It will be built by Michael Baker, International, a construction firm who was not involved in the prototypes at all. The people those design will be a levy wall which is among the designs and the prototypes entering the prototypes. What should we make of them? I don't, oh, I think they're gonna sit there like Stonehenge proudly, You just view them as a symbol: yeah yeah totally, I dont think I mean much other. Then filling his campaign promise whether or not these particular prototypes on display will ever actually be built. There will be more walls, I imagine what will happen is what has been happening for decades and it's not special too. From the administration and all of which is that
some walls are gonna, be constructed because this has been happening through many presidencies. Republican, undemocratic alike, professor all rail again, and so I imagine that's what's gonna happen, there's gonna be some walls built rail been studying the various border walls for years and has come to believe their ineffective and inhumane. So when he first saw the pictures of trumps prototypes Thought of the famous saying show me a twenty four wall and I'll show you twenty one foot ladder, and so our got to work on a simple act of protest using his skills as an architect based the images of the wall prototypes he drew, up some designs for ladders,
ninety nine percent. Invisible was produces week by every Travelin in radio, diaries or composer is shown. Rio Senior, editor Delaney Hall, Digital director, critical stead, you're producer, Katy Mingle, rested is limited Gerald old tree. If turn massive and me roman Mars. Special thanks this week to Dextra Walcott Ashton, him Patrick Mc Andrews Genes, heard Peggy Deemer and the rest of the architecture lobby group of concern architects doing work around the mortar, won't find them at all. But your dash lobby dot org. We are project, One point: seven K w in San Francisco in produced on radio row in beautiful, downtown oakland. California but one of the founders of red Utopia from Pierre Exit, collective of the best most innovative, shows in all upon casting beer supply by our listeners so keeps enemy picture appear, freshly applied, sticker merges naming,
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.