US Border Wall Like Peas and Carrots

The wall has been built by Republicans and Democrats, but the wall - costing up to $27m-a-mile - is routinely being scaled with $5 ladders.

For centuries, two adversaries have been in constant conflict with one another: the solid, imposing wall and the humble ladder. Today, this struggle continues to play out in the Rio Grande Valley along the southern border of Texas, where migrants crossing over from Mexico find themselves confronted with vertical obstructions to their journey, built by presidents Republican and Democrat alike, and decide to simply climb over them - if it's too far to bother to go round them (as the wall is incomplete).

A look at this structural struggle was just published in Texas Monthly, after they hooked up with a local artist and activist named Scott Nicol, a man who has become an expert spotter of wall ladders, which he often finds discarded after one use and photographs them. “It’s made of cheap, rough wood, quickly nailed together because it is only going to be used once,” Nicol says.

“Unlike the wall, these ladders are functional.” It’s a joke but it also happens to be true, and neatly demonstrates the absurdity of the money poured into what amounts to little more than a broad symbol of xenophobia. What’s more, the slapdash nature of the ladders often used to climb over the border wall is the wildly expensive cost of the walls in the first place.

“These ladders are probably $5 worth of hardware, and they’re defeating a wall that cost $12m a mile in that location,” adds Nicol, himself an opponent of border walls. In one area in particular, where a section of wall ordered by the Trump administration has been built, the cost is even higher.

“The cost of the Trump wall in this area - an 11.4-mile stretch from just west of Granjeno downriver to the Santa Ana national wildlife refuge - runs to about $27m a mile,” says Texas Monthly.

As one border patrol agent tells the magazine: “Ladders and walls go together like peas and carrots.” You can have one without the other, but they go best together.