Pamela Taylor and her husband built their home on the banks of the Rio Grande 50 years ago, but when the Department of Homeland Security built a big steel fence here last year, Taylor and seven other homeowners found themselves on the wrong side, wedged between the fence and the once-mighty river. "It's a no man's land," Taylor tells the Los Angeles Times. "They said they were going to build a fence to protect all the people. We were just lost in the draw."
The idea of a border fence may seem simple, but in practice, geography can be tricky—because of flood plains, in some places the fence was built up to a mile from the Rio Grande, cutting through roads, backyards, and and fields for 21 miles around Brownsville, where Taylor lives. "It's not providing security for us, and it's actually shutting us out of America," Taylor says. The government plans to install gates at gaps in the fence and provide residents on the other site with access codes, but the "no-man's land" dwellers fear they will be locked out of their own country in times of crisis.