News Release

The Border-Industrial Complex

TODD MILLER, toddmemomiller@gmail.com@memomiller
Miller just wrote the piece: “The Greater the Disaster, the Greater the Profits The Border-Industrial Complex in the Post-Trump Era” for TomDispatch.com, which states: “In early January 2021, Biden’s nominee to run DHS, Alejandro Mayorkas disclosed that, over the previous three years, he had earned $3.3 million from corporate clients with the WilmerHale law firm. Two of those clients were Northrop Grumman and Leidos, companies that Nick Buxton and I identified as top border contractors in ‘Biden’s Border: The Industry, the Democrats and the 2020 Election,’ a report we co-authored for the Transnational Institute.
“When we started to look at the 2020 campaign contributions of 13 top border contractors for CBP [Customs and Border Protection] and ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], we had no idea what to expect. It was, after all, a corporate group that included producers of surveillance infrastructure for the high-tech ‘virtual wall’ along the border like L3Harris, General Dynamics, and the Israeli company Elbit Systems; others like Palantir and IBM produced border data-processing software; and there were also detention companies like CoreCivic and GeoGroup.

“To our surprise, these companies had given significantly more to the Biden campaign ($5,364,994) than to Trump ($1,730,435). In general, they had shifted to the Democrats who garnered 55 percent of their $40 million in campaign contributions, including donations to key members of the House and Senate Appropriations and Homeland Security committees.

“It’s still too early to assess just what will happen to this country’s vast border-and-immigration apparatus under the Biden administration, which has made promises about reversing Trumpian border policies. Still, it will be no less caught in the web of the border-industrial complex than the preceding administration.

“Perhaps a glimpse of the future border under Biden was offered when, on January 19th, Homeland Security secretary nominee Mayorkas appeared for his Senate confirmation hearings and was asked about the 8,000 people from Honduras heading for the U.S. in a ‘caravan’ at that very moment. The day before, U.S.-trained troops and police in Guatemala had thwarted and then deported vast numbers of them as they tried to cross into that country. Many in the caravan reported that they were heading north thanks to back-to-back catastrophic category 4 hurricanes that had devastated the Honduran and Nicaraguan coasts in November 2020.

“Mayorkas responded rather generically that if people were found to qualify ‘under the law to remain in the United States, then we will apply the law accordingly, if they do not qualify to remain in the United States, then they won’t.’ Given that there is no climate-refugee status available to anyone crossing the border that meant most of those who finally made it (if they ever did) wouldn’t qualify to stay.”

Miller is author of the books Empire of Borders:The Expansion of the U.S. Border Around the World (2019), Storming the Wall (2017), and Border Patrol Nation (2014).