Notre Dame researchers part of group proposing alternative to border wall

NOW: Notre Dame researchers part of group proposing alternative to border wall

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- As lawmakers in D.C. clash over the best way to protect the U.S.-Mexico border, a group of scientists, researchers, and engineers say they have a bipartisan solution.

That group includes two engineering professors from the University of Notre Dame.

The group’s proposal says the U.S. and Mexico should build an energy and water producing industrial corridor that capitalizes on the region’s solar, wind, and water resources.

Kenneth Christensen is on of the Notre Dame professors working on the project.

“This is a very innovative base of opportunity for both the United States and Mexico,” said Christensen.

He says most communities on the border lack economic stability due to its dry climate. However, the area is full of sun and wind and sits between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

The proposal outlined in the paper titled, “Future Energy, Water, Industry and Education Park (FEWIWP): A Secure and Permanent U.S.-Mexico Border Solution” says the two countries should build wind, solar, water, and natural gas plants and pipelines along the entire border.

The group believes in turn that will improve agriculture and business and power the region.

“This brings a new, an entirely new set of jobs,” said Christensen. “It revives old jobs that were lost cause of the loss of candidate agriculture fields and it brings new hope to a region that has faced a lot of challenges for many years.”

They also think it could help with illegal immigration. Researchers argue the infrastructure would be protected by drones and security guards. They add people are less likely to move elsewhere if there is opportunity for them.

“It’s all driven really by the notion of innovating and economic development for the region while also addressing the challenges that exist at that border,” said Christensen.

Luciana Castillo is leading the consortium. He is a professor at Purdue University.

Castillo estimate this would be cheaper than a border wall. He also argues it would pay for itself over time.

He thinks the U.S. and Mexico could create a long-lasting impact on energy, water, industry, and education if the two countries build this corridor.

“It’s not us versus them, this is all of us,” said Castillo. “Let us work together to be creative in a way that’s addressing a challenging for everyone, everybody.

Castillo says the group is trying to gain enough exposure that leads to some political support. He says if that happens, the corridor could be developed and built within the next ten year.s

To learn more about the project click here.

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