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Border barrier

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Title: Border barrier  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Ditch (fortification), Egypt–Gaza barrier, Israel–Egypt barrier, Wall, Bangladesh–India border
Collection: Border Barriers, Fences, Lists of Buildings and Structures
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Border barrier

The top of the Berlin Wall was lined with a smooth pipe, intended to make it more difficult to scale, 1984

A border barrier is a wall, berm, or fence constructed to limit the movement of people across a certain line or border.[1][2] These structures vary in placement with regard to international borders and topography.

Famous examples include the Great Wall of China, a series of walls separating the Empire of China from nomadic powers to the north and the Mexico–United States barrier.


  • List of current barriers 1
  • Barriers by country 2
    • Afghanistan 2.1
    • Austria 2.2
    • Botswana 2.3
    • Brazil 2.4
    • Brunei 2.5
    • Bulgaria 2.6
    • China (Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions) 2.7
    • China (Mainland) 2.8
    • Egypt 2.9
    • Estonia 2.10
    • Greece 2.11
    • Hungary 2.12
    • India 2.13
    • Iran 2.14
    • Israel 2.15
    • Korea 2.16
    • Kuwait 2.17
    • Morocco 2.18
    • Northern Ireland 2.19
    • Pakistan 2.20
    • Russia 2.21
    • Saudi Arabia 2.22
    • South Africa 2.23
    • Spain 2.24
    • Thailand 2.25
    • Ukraine 2.26
    • United Arab Emirates 2.27
    • United States 2.28
    • Uzbekistan 2.29
  • Border barriers in history 3
    • Antiquity 3.1
    • Middle Ages 3.2
    • Early modern period 3.3
    • Defunct barriers in modern times 3.4
    • Other 3.5
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

List of current barriers

Note: The table can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the icon.
Name Country Built Length (km) Type
Belize-Guatemala Belize Proposed N/A Disputed Territory and Anti-illegal immigration
Botswana/Zimbabwe Botswana and Zimbabwe 2003 500 Anti-illegal immigration
Brunei/Limbang Brunei and Limbang 2005 20 Anti-illegal immigration
Bulgaria/Turkey Bulgaria 2014 30 Anti-illegal immigration
Ceuta border fence Spain 2001 8 Anti-illegal immigration
China/Hong Kong Hong Kong 1960s -early 32 Anti-illegal immigration
Costa Rica/Nicaragua Costa Rica Proposed N/A Anti-illegal immigration
Chinese-Korean border fence China and North Korea Under construction 1,416 Anti-illegal immigration
Egypt-Gaza barrier Egypt 1979, subterranean barrier under construction 3.1 Anti-terrorism and anti-illegal immigration
Estonia-Russia border fence Estonia and Russia Planned 106-108 anti-Russian intrusion, anti-illegal trade and anti-illegal immigration
Malaysia-Thailand border Thailand and Malaysia Proposed 650 Anti-terrorism
Melilla border fence Spain 1998 11 Anti-illegal immigration
Hungary–Serbia barrier Hungary 2015 175 Anti-illegal immigration
Hungary–Croatia barrier Hungary 2015 41 Anti-illegal immigration
Indo-Bangladeshi barrier India Under construction 3,268 Anti-illegal immigration
Indo-Burma barrier India Under construction 1,624 Anti-drug smuggling and anti-terrorism
Indian Kashmir barrier India 2004 550 Anti-terrorism (disputed territory)
Iran-Pakistan barrier Iran and Pakistan Under construction 700 Anti-drug smuggling
Kazakh-Uzbekistan barrier Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan 2006 45 Anti-drug smuggling
Korean Demilitarized Zone North Korea and South Korea 1953 248 Conflict zone
Kruger National Park South Africa and Mozambique 1975 120 Anti-illegal immigration
South Africa/Zimbabwe Border South Africa 2000's 2900 Anti-illegal immigration, Anti-drug Smuggling, Anti Weapon Smuggling
Kuwait-Iraq barrier Kuwait and Iraq 1991 193 Conflict zone
Pakistan-Afghanistan barrier Pakistan Proposed 2,400 Anti-terrorism
Saudi-Yemen barrier Saudi Arabia and Yemen 2004 75 Anti-illegal immigration
Saudi-Iraq barrier Saudi Arabia and Iraq 2006 900 Anti-illegal immigration and Conflict zone
Turkmen-Uzbekistan barrier Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan 2001 1,700 Anti-illegal immigration
Ukraine-Russia barrier Ukraine and Russia Under construction 2,000 Anti Weapon Smuggling and Conflict zone
United Arab Emirates-Oman barrier United Arab Emirates and Oman Under construction 410 Anti-illegal immigration
United States–Mexico barrier United States Under construction 3,360 Anti-illegal immigration and drug smuggling
Uzbek-Afghanistan barrier Uzbekistan and Afghanistan 2001 209 Anti-illegal immigration
Uzbek-Kyrgyzstan barrier Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan 1999 870 Conflict zone

Border Barriers in the World

Barriers by country


In January 2006, Afghan government's order. UN chief spokesman in Kabul Adrian Edwards said that security barriers are still required. "We are in a difficult security environment which certainly hasn't improved during 2005", Edwards said. "There have been a number of suicide attacks. Within the UN here, I think none of us would wish to be behind these barricades, we would prefer things could be open as we are in some other countries. However, there have been necessary for our security, that's why they are there." The Afghan government has said it is determined to remove all the barricades. The directive of the government says that "blocking the footpaths, streets, and roads is illegal" and that no one has the right to create obstructions, the only exception being the presidential palace.


In October 2015, during the European migrant crisis, Austrian interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner announced construction of up to 15km long border barriers at several border crossings with Slovenia. It is to be constructed within days with the aim of the restoring order at the border. The barrier is to be guarded by Austrian police and Austrian Armed Forces[3]


In 2003, Botswana began building a 300-mile (480 km)-long electric fence along its border with Zimbabwe. The official reason for the fence is to stop the spread of foot-and-mouth disease among livestock. Zimbabweans argue that the height of the fence is clearly intended to keep out people. Botswana has responded that the fence is designed to keep out cattle, and to ensure that entrants have their shoes disinfected at legal border crossings. Botswana also argued that the government continues to encourage legal movement into the country. Zimbabwe was unconvinced, and the barrier remains a source of tension.[4]


Brazil has built huge concrete walls (up to 10 feet) serving as “eco-barriers’” to contain urban sprawl. Officials see it as a means of protecting the forest but critics maintain that it's a strategy for walling in and containing the city’s favelas (slums). The critics argue that the eco-barriers are a cover for cleaning up the city in preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.


Brunei is building a security fence along its 20-km border with Limbang, Malaysia, to stop the flow of irregular migrants and smuggled goods.


In January 2014, Bulgaria started construction of a 30-kilometer long security fence along its border with Turkey to contain a surge of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.[5] Standing 10 feet (3.0 m) tall and fortified with razor wire coils, the fence covers the least visible section of the border between the Lesovo border checkpoint and the village of Golyam Dervent. The Bulgarian Army completed the protective barrier in July 2014 at a cost of around €5 million.[6] As a result of the new fence, illegal crossing attempts in the vicinity of the installation have decreased by seven times. Turkey’s Ambassador to Bulgaria Suleyman Gokce has expressed dissatisfaction with the border barrier adding that it creates discontent and gives reason to "reflect on the political message," that the fence is sending.[7]

At the beginning of 2015, the government announced a 130-kilometer extension to the barbed wire border fence in order to completely secure the land border. Prime Minister Boyko Borisov described the extension as "absolutely necessary," in order to prevent illegal persons from entering the European Union member state.[8] Bulgarian Parliament has decided to continue construction of the fence at the border with Turkey without launching a public procurement procedure because of the need to safeguard national security.[9]

China (Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions)

The People's Republic of China (PRC) has two Special Administrative Regions on its southeastern coast—Hong Kong and Macau, both of which maintain controlled intra-national borders with the neighbouring Guangdong province in Mainland China. An identity document is inspected when one crosses the border.

Hong Kong was a Dependent Territory of the UK until its sovereignty was handed over to the PRC in 1997, while Macau was a Special Territory of Portugal until its sovereignty was handed over to the PRC in 1999. Before the transfers of sovereignty back to the PRC, the Hong Kong–-Guangdong and Macau–Guangdong borders were regarded as international borders.

Under the principle of "One Country, Two Systems", the two Special Administrative Regions continue to maintain their own customs and immigration policies, which are independent of those in Mainland China after the handovers. Due to differences in the policies between the special administrative regions and the Mainland, the Hong Kong—Guandgong and Macau—Guangdong borders have been maintained in operation after the returns.

Hong Kong has a border stretching 32 km with the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone of Guangdong that features fences, thermal image sensors, lights and closed-circuit television. The border is also patrolled regularly by police. Just south of Shenzhen River (the geographical delimitation of the border) is a strip of rural land with restricted access, the 28 km² Closed Area. Currently, the four road border crossings are located at Sha Tau Kok, Man Kam To, Lok Ma Chau and Shenzhen Bay, and a railway and traveller crossing is located at Lo Wu. The residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are required to have their Hong Kong ID Cards inspected by the Hong Kong Immigration Department and their Home Return Permits inspected by the Public Security Bureau of Guangdong when they cross the border. Travelers from other countries and regions are required to present their passports or other types of travel documents for immigration clearance at both Hong Kong immigration checkpoints and Mainland China immigration ports.

Macau has been maintaining a 340-metre controlled border with Zhuhai City in Guangdong with a crossing available at the Border Gate (built in 1870).[10] The border crossing is equipped with 54 counters for travelers and 8 for vehicular traffic. Opened in 1999, Macau's Lotus Bridge supplemented what has been the only border crossing into mainland China through Border Gate. Both border crossings allow access to Zhuhai. Canal dos Patos, a former canal forms part of the border area along with Sun Yat-sen Municipal Park located to west of Border Gate area. Fencing along both sides of the canal restricts access to either side. Pagoda-like sentry towers are located along the Mainland China side of the border.

China (Mainland)

China, in October 2006, is also building a security barrier along its border with North Korea to prevent illegal immigrants.[11]


The Rafah Border Crossing (Arabic: معبر رفح, Hebrew: מעבר רפיח) is an international border crossing at Palestinian-controlled Rafah between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. It was built by the Israeli and Egyptian governments after the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty and confirmed after Israel's 1982 withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. It was managed by the Israel Airports Authority until it was evacuated on 11 September 2005 as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, after which it fell on the European Union Border Assistance Mission Rafah (EUBAM) to monitor the crossing.


In August 2015, Estonia announced a plan to build a barrier on its border with Russia.[12]


The land borders of Greece with Turkey is in fact Evros River

After having made an agreement with Frontex on the guard of the maritime borders of Greece with Turkey[13] the Greek government decided a wall to be built at the land border with Turkey, the Evros River.[14] These actions have been made as a reaction to the illegal immigration to Greece through the Greco-Turkish borders. These immigrants are originated from Asian and African states. From January to the beginning of November 2010, 32,500 illegal migrants were intercepted in a single 12.5-kilometer stretch of the Turkish-Greek border along the Evros River.[15] Actually this site is the main entrance of illegal immigrants to the EU from the Asian continent.[15] Illegal immigration is a current subject between the two countries.

Greece has constructed a barrier on the section of its land border with Turkey that is not separated by the Evros river, between October 2011 and December 2012.[16]


Construction of a 175-km wall between Hungary and Serbia commences soon to stop illegal migration into the EU.[17]


Along the black-dotted line and on the working boundary

Since the mid-1990s, India has been involved in the construction of some of the lengthiest border barriers along its international borders. Six of the nine countries neighboring India are classified as Least Developed Countries, and thus thousands of people from these countries—especially from Bangladesh, Nepal and Burma—illegally immigrate into India.

The Indo-Bangladeshi barrier and Indo-Burma barrier are being built to check smuggling, illegal immigration, and infiltration by Islamist terrorists. The refugee crisis could also ensue should a climate catastrophe ravage South Asia.

In addition, India completed the construction of the Indian-Kashmir barrier, which runs along the Line of Control in Kashmir. The purpose of this barrier is to prevent infiltration by armed militants. Many Kashmiris both in Jammu and Kashmir of India and Azad Kashmir in Pakistan opposed the barrier since Kashmir is a disputed territory.


The Iran-Pakistan barrier wall is 700 kilometers long, which Iran claims is to stop the flow of illegal border crossings, stem the flow of drugs and prevent terror attacks. However, the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan, whose lands straddle the border region, strongly opposed the barrier as the wall would divide the Baloch people politically and socially, with trade and social activities being seriously impeded.

Leader of the Opposition, Kachkol Ali, said the governments of the two countries had not taken the Baloch into their confidence on this matter[18] and demanded that construction be stopped immediately and he also appealed to the international community.[19] Residents of the Sorap locality in the Mand area of western Mekran region in Balochistan province rely on edible goods from Iran for their livelihood but Iranian border security forces vacate the town. According to BBC, "The Balochistanis, who live on both sides of the border and in the area where both countries neighbour Afghanistan, have had their communities divided by the wall."[20]


Due to Israel's specific security situation, as well as immigration concerns, border fences and walls have been utilized:

  • Jerusalem: During the 1950s and 1960s a fortified separation barrier also divided much of Jerusalem to separate Jordanian and Israeli-controlled sectors of the city. It was pulled down in the immediate aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, when the eastern part of the city came under Israeli rule. Currently, the route of the West Bank barrier in Jerusalem cuts off residents of the Jerusalem municipality from Jerusalem proper.[21]
  • Lebanon and Syria: Israel's borders with Lebanon and Syria have sophisticated security barriers, including electronic surveillance and warning systems. The barrier along the Lebanese border follows the lines of the 1949 Armistice and was laid down in coordination with the UN, the government anxious to make clear that it had withdrawn completely from Lebanese territory (excepting the ongoing dispute on the Shaba Farms).
    • The barrier on the Syrian border on the Golan Heights reflects the situation in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War, when Israel retained the territory conquered in 1967 except for handing back the town of Kuneitra. The Syrian government has repeatedly demanded the return of the entire Golan, but has made no specific issue of Israel erecting a security barrier along the border as it presently stands.
  • Egypt: Israel saw no need to fortify the Sinai Desert border with Egypt after the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty. The fence along that border was always more a marker than an effective barrier, and has become rusty and swamped by shifting sand dunes. The porous border has become the scene of extensive drug trafficking and the smuggling of women, typically from Third World and East European countries, who are subsequently forced into prostitution, as well as the entry of various refugees, asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants from various African countries, notably Sudanese fleeing the genocide in Darfur and Erithreans fleeing due to compulsive military service. There were also isolated cases of infiltration by armed terrorists, and apprehension that they would increase. In December 2005 the government of Israel proposed building a £200 million security barrier along the Egyptian border, in 2013 Israel completed the bulk of the border with Egypt.
  • Jordan: The border of Israel's territory with Jordan, mostly in the Arabah, is considered the most peaceful of the country's borders, due to traditional good relations with Jordan's Hashemite Dynasty. In addition to the Negev border, Israel and Jordan also share the West Bank's border with Jordan in the Jordan Valley. Along this border there is a security barrier with two purposes. It is designed to stop both infiltration from Jordan into the Israeli-controlled territory and the passage of West Bank Palestinians, uncontrolled by Israeli officials, into Jordan.
  • The Israel–Gaza barrier involves a security barrier along Israel's 1949 Armistice lines. There was also the security barrier along the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt (originally Philadelphi Route, which later became the Egypt–Gaza barrier), erected when Israel was in direct military control of the area.


South Korea has constructed a border barrier between its territory and North Korea to obstruct any southward movement by the army of North Korea. The border features:


The United Nations has constructed a demilitarized zone to stop Iraq from re-invading Kuwait; Kuwait plans to install a new border barrier as well.


The Moroccan Wall is an approximately 2,700 km-long structure, mostly a sand wall (or "berm"), running through the region of Western Sahara and the southeastern portion of Morocco. It acts as a barrier between the Moroccan-controlled areas (Southern Provinces) and the Polisario-controlled section of the territory - Free Zone or de facto the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic that lies along its eastern and southern border.

According to maps from MINURSO[22] or the UNHCR,[23] part of the wall extends several kilometers into internationally recognized Mauritanian territory.

Northern Ireland

A "peace line" in Belfast

In Belfast, Derry, and other settlements in Northern Ireland, barriers called "peace lines" have been built to separate the two main communities. Their purpose is to minimize inter-communal violence between Irish nationalists/republicans (who mainly self-identify as Irish and/or Catholic) and unionists/loyalists (who mainly self-identify as British and/or Protestant). They were first built following the 1969 riots and beginning of the "Troubles". They have continued to be built and expanded since the Belfast Agreement of 1998. In 2008 a public discussion began about how and when the barriers could be removed.[24] On 1 September 2011, Belfast City Council agreed to develop a strategy regarding the removal of peace walls.[25] At the end of 2011 several local community initiatives resulted in several interface structures being opened for a trial period.[26] In January 2012, the International Fund for Ireland launched a Peace Walls funding programme to support local communities who want to work towards removing the peace walls.[27]


In September 2005, Pakistan stated it has plans to build a 1,500-mile (2,400 km) fence along its border with Afghanistan to prevent Islamic insurgents and drug smugglers slipping between the two countries. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has subsequently offered to mine the border as well.[28][29]


There is an electronic security barrier (ex-"Iron Curtain") along the old Soviet border. Also, a security barrier is on the border of Russia with Norway, Finland, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. There is no barrier on Russian territory along the border with Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, or Ukraine, but there are some barriers on the Estonian, Latvian sides. It was reported in 2005 that the Russian government was considering the construction of a security barrier along its internal border with Chechnya to combat terrorism.[30]

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has begun construction of a border barrier or fence between its territory and Yemen to prevent the unauthorized movement of people and goods. The Yemenis have been a source of trouble for the Saudis for many years; the difference between the countries' economic situations means that many Yemenis head to Saudi Arabia to find work. Saudi Arabia does not have a barrier with its other neighbors in the Gulf Cooperation Council, whose economies are similarly wealthy.

In 2006 Saudi Arabia proposed constructing a security fence along the entire length of its desert border of 900 kilometres (560 mi) with Iraq in a multimillion-dollar project to secure the Kingdom's borders in order to improve internal security, control illegal immigration, and bolster its defences against external threats.[31]

Security fence along the South Africa-Mozambique border.

As of July 2009 it was reported that Saudis will pay $3.5 billion for security fence.[32] The combined wall and ditch will be 600 miles long and include five layers of fencing, watch towers, night-vision cameras, and radar cameras and manned by 30,000 troops.[33]

South Africa

In 1975 a security fence of 120 kilometres (75 mi) was erected by South Africa to keep the violent revolution in Mozambique from spilling into Kruger National Park.[34] In 1990 it was reported:

On December 9, 2002, by the presidents of South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe signed a treaty authorizing the fence to be torn down in order to re-open the ancient elephant migration route between South Africa and Mozambique. The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park of 35,000 square kilometres (14,000 sq mi) will connect the national parks of the three countries—South Africa's Kruger National Park, Mozambique's Limpopo National Park, and Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park.[36]

In 2005 it was reported that only a relatively small portion of the high-security border fence separating South Africa's Kruger National Park with Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou Park had been removed. Security concerns, especially about illegal immigrants and the smuggling of weapons and four-wheel-drive vehicles, have been hindering the removal of more sections of the border fence.[37]


The European Union and Spain have constructed barriers between the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and Morocco to prevent illegal immigration and smuggling.

Even though both the United Kingdom and Spain are part of the European Union, the border fence separating Gibraltar and Spain is still relevant because Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory, is not part of the Schengen Area so remains outside of the customs union and VAT area. The border crossing is open twenty-four hours a day to facilitate customs collection by Spain.


Thailand plans to build a concrete fence along parts of its border with Malaysia to keep Muslim militants and dual citizens from crossing Thailand's southern border with Malaysia.


United Arab Emirates

The UAE is building a security barrier along its border with Oman.

United States

Beach in Tijuana at the American-Mexican border, before security upgrades were installed.

The United States has constructed a border barrier along 130 kilometres (81 mi) of its U.S.-Mexico border with Mexico of 3,169 kilometres (1,969 mi) to prevent illegal immigration to the United States and to deter smuggling of contraband, particularly illegal drugs. There has been legislation in the U.S. Congress on lengthening the barrier, but progress has been slow due to lobbying and lack of funding.

The border along US and Canada does not have restrictive fencing and some areas a separated by a narrow strip with trees removed to show where the border lies.


In 1999 Uzbekistan began constructing a barbed wire fence to secure its border with Kyrgyzstan.

In 2001 Uzbekistan fortified the fence with Afghanistan.

The Berlin Wall 1986

Border barriers in history


Middle Ages

Early modern period

Defunct barriers in modern times

  • The Maginot Line, built between 1929 to 1938 by France on the French-German border as a defensive structure.
  • Between Russia (Soviet Union) and Finland/Norway there was a fence on the Soviet side along the entire border (more than 1,000 km) during the Cold war. Along the Finnish border it was not so well guarded since Finland agreed to send back all Russians who escaped. The fence was located a few kilometers from the border, and still partly remains, even though the border controls are open now. Russian law still forbids crossing the border outside of a border station.
  • Iron Curtain, including:
  • Panama Canal fence


See also


  1. ^ Fox News. Return of the Fence: Immigration crisis spurs renewed calls for border barrier. [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Mikl-Leitner baut "Grenz-Zaun". October 27, 2015.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Barrier Gate of Macau, Macau Barrier Gate. Macau Gate, Portas do Cerco Macau, Macau Sightseeing Tour, Asiarooms
  11. ^ China building border fence facing North Korea
  12. ^ Estonia 'plans Russia border fence' amid Ukraine tensions. BBC News. 28 August 2015
  13. ^ [3]
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^ Danae Leivada. Why Greece Shut The Shortest, Safest Route For Migrants And Refugees. The Huffington Post. Published on 09/24/2015.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ [4]
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Behind the Wall- Shuafat Camp", Ir Amim Special Report. 2006.
  22. ^ Deployment of MINURSO
  23. ^ Western Sahara Atlas Map - June 2006
  24. ^
  25. ^ Irish Times
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Saudis plan to fence off border with chaos, The Times, April 10, 2006.
  32. ^ Saudis will pay $3.5 billion for security fence
  33. ^ The Telegraph: "Revealed: Saudi Arabia's 'Great Wall' to keep out Isil - Middle Eastern Kingdom building 600-mile wall and ditch along its border with Iraq in effort to insulate itself from the chaos engulfing its neighbours" By Richard Spencer 14 Jan 2015
  34. ^
  35. ^ 'Hundreds killed' by South Africa's border fence, New Scientist, Issue 1701, January 27, 1990.
  36. ^ Cross-Border Park Is Africa's Largest Wildlife Refuge, National Geographic Society, February 11, 2003.
  37. ^ Kruger elephants head for Mozambique, Independent Online, March 27, 2005.
  38. ^ The Hmong

External links

  • Security Fences around the World
  • Security Fences in The Atlantic Monthly
  • Article about CityWalls on Erasmuspc
  • "Obama's Border Fence", NOW on PBS, July 3, 2009.
  • "Around Globe, Walls Spring Up to Divide Neighbors" Page Not Found, Reuters, April 30, 2007.
  • Border to Border, Wall to Wall, Fence to Fence
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