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Border walls have become a prominent focus in the world today. At the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, globally there were only about 15 border/security walls in place or under construction. In contrast, today there are more than 70 walls, with additional ones being proposed. Although human migration has been a fundamental characteristic of human history, walls are built and created primarily as barriers to control the mobility of people and commerce.
The AAA Executive Board commissioned the Proliferation of Border and Security Walls Task Force in 2017. Chaired by Joe Heyman (University of Texas at El Paso), the Task Force included Robert R. Alvarez (University of California, San Diego), Julie Peteet (University of Louisville), Reinhard Bernbeck (Freie Universität Berlin), Zahir Ahmed (Jahangirnagar University), and Fabian A. Crespo (University of Louisville).
The charge of the Task Force was to review the scholarship concerning these walls and their impacts across the globe. Walls don’t stop people from moving, they just create unequal mobility. Limiting mobility chips away at human rights and put people in danger. Walls disrupt ecological processes, harm archaeological and cultural heritage sites, and have adverse effects on people’s health. The Task Force report considers the nature and extent to which AAA might contribute to addressing the issues these border walls present, and suggests a range of potential courses of action.