In 1846, in the aftermath of the U.S. annexation of Texas, Mexican forces attacked Americans at Fort Brown, Texas, at the Rio Grande River — in part over a border dispute. Later, the city of Brownsville, named after Major Jacob Brown, grew around the fort and presided over much of Texas’ rich and colorful history. Contributing to that history is the beautiful Rio Grande River, which is also the international border between the United States and Mexico. Nowadays, the city finds itself in the uneasy position of, once again, defining that border. Parts of the city and the lush farmlands around it (known in Texas as “the Valley”) are now severed by an ugly 18-foot iron fence that has forever altered peaceful Valley life and stands as a harbinger of uncertainty and discord as border tensions escalate. The New American traveled to Brownsville to investigate the fence and its unintended consequences.
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