Fatal Follies of Fortification: Conservation and Violence in the U.S.–Mexico Borderlands

Nathan Sayre

Part of the Fall 2011 Bay Area Latin American Forum

November 28, 2011

Event Description

For the last decade, U.S. immigration policy has focused disproportionately on interdiction, especially in the area immediately north of the U.S.–Mexico border. Unfortunately, policymakers fail to understand the ineffectiveness of this policy or its actual effects in the borderlands. Nathan Sayre explores these effects from the vantage point of long-time rural residents in the Arizona–New Mexico portion of the border, for whom border fortification has brought violence on a scale not seen since the late 19th century, interfering with both their livelihoods and their efforts at innovative conservation.


Nathan Sayre is an associate professor of Geography at UC Berkeley. He has worked in the borderlands of Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora and Chihuahua for nearly two decades and studies the region’s environmental history, land use and conservation politics.