Crack in the wall

01 September 2017


Barricade: Life in the Shadow of the Wall (BBC World News, Tuesday of last week) explored the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border

Barricade: Life in the Shadow of the Wall (BBC World News, Tuesday of last week) explored the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border

GIVEN recent turbulent events across the Atlantic, it is easy to forget that President Trump has promised to build a wall along the United States-Mexico border.

Plans to build a wall are going ahead, however — at least, once Congress has approved the budget.

But will a wall deliver what President Trump has said that it will: namely, preventing the entry of illegal immigrants and drugs? In Life in the Shadow of the Wall (BBC World News, Tuesday of last week), Juan Paullier travelled to the US-­Mexico border to find answers.

A visit to Reynosa, the most dan­gerous city on the border, dispelled the idea that a wall would prevent the flow of drugs from Mexico to the US. Over-mighty drugs cartels al­­ready run rings around an under-resourced police force (there are 2500 police officers, and 9000 are needed to police effectively, the state governor told Mr Paullier); and, as one truck driver said, drug traf­ficking “is something that has to happen. . . The drugs are consumed in the United States.”

Sadly, many migrants — both those reaching the border from the south, and those who have been sent back from the US for illegal entry — fall prey to the drug cartels. “You can be kidnapped, robbed, or they take your life,” one said.

Further problems were not dif­ficult to find. A landowner, Noel Benadivez, had received letters ordering him to sell his land to the government so that the wall could be built (more than 90 per cent of land along the border is privately owned).

Once the wall is built, about 20 acres of Mr Benadivez’s land will lie on the other side of the wall. How would he access it, Mr Paullier asked.

“They tell me there’s going to be openings where we can access the property.”

“It won’t be a continuous wall, or you have like a key?”

“More than likely it will just be an opening, which would defeat the purpose of the wall. But that’s the government for you.”

Anyone looking for a series to while away the evenings as autumn sets in should try the Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek (Netflix).

A wealthy New York business­man, Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy) and his former soap-star wife, Moira (Catherine O’Hara), lose all their money and end up in a small rural town, Schitt’s Creek, which they had bought years before as a gift for their son (how they laughed). They live in a room in a run-down motel, next to their spoiled grown-up children David (Daniel Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy).

The family’s main aim is to get back on their feet and back to the high life; but they soon become embroiled in the personal rivalries and petty politics that characterise life in Schitt’s Creek. It all makes for tremendously funny material, and the joke is often on the family. It is brilliantly written, extremely well-observed, and, on occasion, surpris­ingly moving.

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