The war (profiteers) on the border
A terribly misleading heading in the New York Times yesterday on the militarization of the U.S. borderlands as “War on the border”… there is no war, unless its a war on the residents of the United States by its own government for the benefit of what was once quaintly called the “military-industrial complex”:
>In 2012, the Migration Policy Institute reported that immigration and border enforcement spending totaled almost $18 billion. That is 24 percent more than the $14.4 billion combined budgets in the last fiscal year of the F.B.I., the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Add the billions anticipated in the Senate bill, and you have what the trade publication Homeland Security Today calls a “treasure trove” for contractors in the border security industry.
Projected as an approximately $19 billion industry in 2013, defense contractors seem, in the words of one representative from a small surveillance technology company hoping to jump into the border security market, to be “bringing the battlefield to the border.”
In 1999, the anthropologist Josiah Heyman wrote that the Southwest was becoming a “militarized border society, where more and more people either work for the watchers, or are watched by the state.”
There is nowhere else in the country with such extensive and concentrated surveillance technology; nor is there any part of the United States in which people are as clearly divided between the police and the policed.
And the militarized security zone has begun to creep beyond the southern border and to affect those who live near the northern border in places like Spokane, Wash., Detroit and Erie, Pa., where the Border Patrol has significantly increased its ranks.
As true now as it ever was…