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Our nationwide parcel data is perfect for answering basic questions about the border wall that we hadn't heard much about in the media coverage - What four states border Mexico? Who owns the land on the border? Is there a US borderwall map?
The US/Mexico border spans about 2,000 miles, across four states (Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas) and an incredibly diverse array of biomes ranging from major urban areas to swaths of desert. In recent years, the border (and immigration more broadly) has become a political flashpoint. The proposed construction of a physical wall spanning the entire southern US border has been a central point of the conversation since Donald Trump's election in 2016.
Here at Loveland, we realized that our nationwide parcel data was perfect to answer some basic questions that we hadn't heard much about in the media coverage. Specifically:
1) Who actually owns border parcels where the wall is being proposed?
2) What does current land use look like along the border?...
The location of the border as we know it today is a result of concerted US efforts to annex, purchase, or otherwise acquire Mexican land, notably the Mexican-American War in 1846-1848. Prior, most of what today is the southwestern United States was Mexican territory.
This knowledge is important because it frames a central truth: the border is an artificial construct, which was drawn without much consideration for how people living in the region actually moved around. For many, this meant that journey that had once been straightforward - to work, to visit family members, to graze livestock - now involved cross-border travel.
Over time as the U.S.-Mexico border became the busiest border crossing in the world, US antipathy to illegal immigration increased as well. This antipathy was codified in 1965, when the passage of the Immigration & Nationality Act capped the number of Mexican immigrants the would be permitted annually. By 1972, the number of illegal immigrants in the US had topped an estimated 1 million.