Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As an alternative approach to securing the border, a group of scientists and engineers have proposed the U.S. and Mexico build a sprawling "energy park" of wind turbines, water desalination plants, solar panels and natural gas pipelines.

The big picture: An energy corridor could offer the benefits of a secured physical barrier, since the infrastructure would be well protected, while also creating job opportunities for both migrants and U.S. workers. It has some potential for bipartisan appeal, and President Trump even suggested a similar idea in 2017.

Where it stands: The group's plan was delivered to Congress last month, though it remains to be seen whether it will be incorporated into any legislation.

How it works: The proposal — from 29 academics at universities across the U.S. — calls for $1.1 billion in taxpayer funding to start, but total costs have not been defined.

  • The goal would be to create private-public partnerships to attract private investment from energy companies and manufacturers during the construction phase and later for operation.
  • Supporters argue that the economic and environmental benefits the project promises could far outweigh the costs, providing stable and well-paying job opportunities for migrants and clean energy for generations to come.

Yes, but: There are still many challenges that would need to be addressed, including the total public cost, security standards and potential risks like bribes offered to employees by drug traffickers.

The bottom line: An energy corridor could simultaneously strengthen U.S.–Latin America ties while improving border and energy security.

Sarah E. Hunt is the co-founder and CEO of Joseph Rainey Center for Public Policy.

Go deeper

5 hours ago - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began —AstraZeneca to resume vaccine trial in U.S.How to help save 130,000 lives.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.