News Release

Scrutinizing Trump, and Pelosi and Schumer on Border

TODD MILLER, toddmemomiller at gmail.com, @memomiller
Miller’s latest book is Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security. He said today: “Despite President Donald Trump’s insistence that we not reopen the federal government until his administration receives billions for a ‘border wall,’ not another cent should be dedicated to the enforcement regime that is in place on the U.S. border with Mexico. There is already the most massive concentration of agents and resources that we have ever seen in the history of the United States. There are already 650 miles of walls and barriers, high-powered cameras and radar, thousands of implanted motion sensors, and drones.

“Since the Bill Clinton administration’s initiation of Operation Gatekeeper in 1994, Border Patrol agents have increased from 4,000 to almost 21,000 (mostly on the southern divide), and annual budgets for border and immigration enforcement have gone from $1.5 billion in 1994 to $23 billion in 2018 (if you combine Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

“While it is true that the Trump administration is attempting to bring border fortification to new levels, make no mistake — it has long been bipartisan — from Clinton to Bush to Obama. And throughout those administrations, it has long been violent, nearly 8,000 corpses of crossers found in the borderlands since 1994, 2.5 million forcibly expelled from the country just under the Obama administration, 40,000 imprisoned administratively on any given day, untold thousands of children separated from their parents.

“The border enforcement apparatus needs to be reduced, not enhanced. This means no more wall funding to Trump and no more surveillance technologies to the border as Democratic leadership such as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Shumer insist. They both amount to the same thing: a reinforcement of an apparatus of exclusion. The issue of people arriving to our border is correctly a ‘humanitarian’ one, and they need to be treated like refugees, not criminals. A long-term answer to this from a U.S. policy perspective requires a much more holistic conversation — which includes an honest discussion of free trade and neoliberal economic policies in Central America, the impacts of the U.S. sponsored drug war in the region, and climate change.”

Miller’s previous books include Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Homeland Security.