A review of Continental Divide: Wildlife, People and the Border Wall

  • After traveling the U.S.-Mexico border wall for 100 yards, looking for a place to cross, these javelina turned away (facing page). This stretch of wall in Arizona bisects the San Pedro River corridor, one of the last free-flowing rivers in the state and a haven for wildlife traveling north and south.

    Krista Schlyer
  • Pacific Ocean and the border wall.

 

Continental Divide: Wildlife, People and the Border Wall,
Krista Schlyer,
292 pages.
Softcover: $30,
Texas A&M University Press, 2012

Walls do not solve problems; they make them. That is the simple, elegant premise of writer and photographer Krista Schlyer's book Continental Divide, which chronicles the unintended ecological and social consequences of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Schlyer argues forcefully that the barrier has done little to stem the tide of illegal immigrants into this country, and has actually made the problem worse. Migrants travel through ever more remote parts of the desert, risking their lives and endangering the plant and animal communities that they, and the border patrol who chase them, encounter. The wall itself also causes ecological chaos, disrupting wildlife migration and separating animals from food and water. Schlyer's photographs detail a desert in distress, but also show the raw beauty of a misunderstood landscape.