News Release

Biden and the Money Behind the “Virtual Wall” with Mexico


TODD MILLER,, @memomiller
Miller is co-author of the just-released report “Biden’s Border — The border industry, the Democrats and the 2020 elections” co-published by the Transnational Institute, Mijente, and AFSC.

He said today: “President Joe Biden and Democratic candidates received more money than Donald Trump and Republicans from leading border security corporations despite their markedly different campaign promises and rhetoric. Biden himself received three times more in contributions ($5,364,994) than Trump ($1,730,435) from 13 leading border security and immigration detention firms. Overall, these companies donated over $40 million to both political parties but favored Democrats (55 percent) over Republicans (45 percent). These numbers suggest that the industry, which has traditionally favored Republicans, sought to ensure influence regardless of the election outcome and protect a lucrative industry worth $55.1 billion between 2008 and 2020.

“In the report ‘Biden’s Border — The border industry, the Democrats and the 2020 elections,’ we welcome key initiatives by the Biden administration to change course on border and immigration from Trump’s aggressive anti-immigrant policies. However, Biden’s support for a ‘virtual wall’ and ‘smart borders’ that depend more on surveillance technologies than physical wall construction is more profitable for this industry and would continue a long-standing bipartisan approach to border militarization. As a result of these policies in place since the mid 1990s, approximately 8,000 bodies have been recovered in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, and many more people have disappeared or have been separated from their families.

“If Democrats truly want to oppose the cruelty and deadliness of this border and immigration enforcement apparatus, they will have to do much more than reverse Trump’s inhumane policies. They will have to challenge this entrenched and lucrative system, including the infrastructure and technology that facilitates it and the industry that thrives off it. They will have to challenge a complex of companies that finances their campaigns and lobbies their offices.”\

Miller is author of the books Empire of Borders:The Expansion of the U.S. Border Around the World (2019), Storming the Wall (2017), Border Patrol Nation (2014), and the forthcoming Build Bridges Not Walls (2021).