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2010 Fleming Science Lecture Series will Examine the Impact of the U.S.-Mexico Border Fence

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Series begins Feb. 23 with speaker from the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies

The 2010 Fleming Science Lecture Series at Southwestern University will explore the social, economic, environmental and ecological impacts of the U.S. Secure Border Initiative’s U.S.-Mexico Border Fence project.

The series will begin Feb. 23 with a lecture by Juan Hernandez, founder of the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at The University of Texas at Dallas. Hernandez will give a lecture titled “The New American Pioneers: Hispanics 2010 and el Gran Debate on Immigration Reform.” The lecture will begin at 4 p.m. in Olin 105. A reception will be held outside the lecture hall beginning at 3:30 pm.

Hernandez served as a cabinet member under former Mexican President Vicente Fox and has been a passionate advocate for human and civil rights for immigrants. Hernandez now acts as a consultant for leaders in the United States, Mexico and Central America. He is the author of several books, the most recently of which is titled The New American Pioneers. Copies of this book will be available at the Feb. 23 lecture.

Future presentations in the series include an April 5 lecture by Michael Tewes from Texas A&M-Kingsville and an April 12 lecture by Joseph Cook from the University of New Mexico. Tewes is one of the world’s leading authorities on ocelots, which live near the U.S.-Mexico border, and Cook studies mountain lions and black bears that live in Mexico and southern Arizona.

The non-partisan Congressional Research Service has estimated the cost of building and maintaining the U.S.-Mexico border fence to be approximately $50 billion over an expected lifespan of 25 years. Some groups have questioned its effectiveness in deterring illegal immigration, while environmental groups say that cutting off animals’ ability to roam freely will further harm species that are already endangered.