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Border Wall Research


Border Wall GIS and Demographics

Research Border Wall


Dr. Jeff Wilson, UTB Dept. of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences
Dr. Jude Benavides, UTB Dept. of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences
Prof. Karen Engle, University of Texas School of Law
Denise Gilman, University of Texas School of Law
The Working Group on Human Rights and the Border Wall


The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), under a US Congressional mandate, has constructed a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. While much attention has been drawn to the environmental, social and political issues surrounding the fence, analysis of demographic data on the populations that will be directly affected has been limited. The proposed fence is not a continuous barrier: lengths of open space (gaps) exist along each section of fence. Results based on statistical and geographic information systems (GIS) spatial analyses indicate that there are marked and statistically significant disparities in the demographics between groups directly affected (wall) and not affected (gaps) by the border fence in Cameron County, Texas. Poor, undereducated, Hispanic immigrant families were found to be disproportionately affected in an adverse fashion. Consideration of these disparities should integrated into the DHS fence-planning process.


Wilson, J. Gaines, J. Benavides, A. Reisinger, Z. Hurwitz, J. Spangler, and K. Engle. 2008. An analysis of demographic disparities associated with the proposed U.S.-Mexico border fence in Cameron County, Texas. Briefing paper to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States. June. [PDF].


Dr. Jeff Wilson
Dr. Jude Benavides

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