A breakdown of what the $47 billion that the U.S. government has proposed for the militarization of the already-secure border with Mexico will buy them.
But what about the human cost?
7 million residents in border areas would be forced to experience life in a war-zone.. complete with drones, video surveillance, radar, and tens of thousands of border patrol agents.. not to mention the potential human rights abuses and racial profiling in border communities that come along with increased militarization.
Leaders of the undocumented youth movement in the United States have crossed the border into Mexico, and plan to turn themselves in alongside other undocumented youth who left or were deported from the United States at a border crossing next week. With applications for legal admission in hand, they will demand to be allowed to return home to the United States.
The brave and courageous young people include our friends, Lizbeth Mateo, Lulu Martinez and Marco Saavedra.
Quick things you can do right now:
- Click here to Thunderclap the action now
- Sign this petition to bring Adriana home
- Reblog and share this video
- Share, comment, and react to the Buzzfeed article
- Join Lizbeth, Lulu and Marco as they come out of the shadows at the border
Stay tuned for more.
(1) Drone surveillance: US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) already uses Predator drones to patrol parts of the northern and southern borders, but the Senate immigration bill calls for surveillance”24 hours per day and for 7 days per week,” in the southwest and southern border regions. The bill would also fund additional border enforcement and surveillance, including more drones, to the tune of $4.5 billion.
A federal statute from the 1950s allows border patrol agents to stop and search people at checkpoints located in the US up to 100 miles from any international border; the Senate immigration bill would allow the surveillance drones to fly over the same areas in most states. But by law, border agents can only enter private lands within 25 miles of the border without a warrant to track down immigrants who have unlawfully crossed the border.
Although the Senate immigration bill would require border drones to be unarmed, they would still possess the same high-tech surveillance capabilities designed for Predator drones used by the US military in Afghanistan. That, privacy advocates say, blurs the line that limits border patrol surveillance of private lands to 25 miles within the border. Beyond that, drone use raises the question of what other data the feds are sweeping up in the process of watching the border. In a recent New York Times Magazine story, a reporter witnesses an Air Force training exercise where drones track civilian vehicles on the highway. Regulations prevent the Air Force from targeting specific people, but it’s okay for it to hand data collected “incidentally" in the course of a separate operation, such as training or observing illegal activity, to federal agencies. That same logic could apply to border surveillance, which could conceivably give the feds wide latitude on data collection because of the Mexican drug war.
In short, the bill “offers little protections or guidance on [drones’] use and on the grave privacy implications they create,” explains Mark Jaycox, an EFF policy analyst.
As humanitarian aid workers with No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, we do what we can to mitigate the results of border policy in Southern Arizona. We hike the desert and leave food and water on migrant trails; we provide medical care to people we meet; and we search for those reported missing. We are torn by the prospect of the proposed immigration reform package going into effect. We want the 11 million undocumented residents of this country to gain security and a status allowing them to remain with their families. However, we are grimly aware of the destructive impact that billions more in border security funding will have.
We see the impacts of border militarization on those we meet—abandoned and injured in the vast desert. Border Patrol helicopters hover over groups of migrants, causing them to drop their belongings and scatter in all directions. Guides push groups to move rapidly through areas surveilled by air and laced with ground sensors, leaving behind those who can’t keep up. In addition to making the border harder to cross, border militarization has also greatly extended the distance which migrants are forced to walk. Before the mid-’90’s, crossing the line might take a matter of hours. Today, migrants contend with 100 miles of enforcement, a zone that can take days or weeks to pass through.
And still they try. As long as people have compelling reasons to leave their home communities and seek lives in the United States, they will continue to do so. Nothing in the reform bill addresses the “push” factors that drive northward migration to the United States. These factors include a series of free trade agreements (such as NAFTA and CAFTA-DR); US intervention in Latin American democratic processes and support for corrupt regimes; a war on drugs that has greatly enriched violent cartels; tolerance of human rights abuses by US allies that persecute indigenous people, women, queer and gender-variant people, and others who resist the destruction of their communities and land.
For example, no reform measure addresses the fate of Central Americans who now make up a majority of crossers on some parts of the border. We have encountered an increasing number of Hondurans in the desert who are attempting to flee their country, which has the highest murder rate in the world. Their government was installed by a military coup, is infiltrated by drug cartels at all levels and is supported by US military aid. If they are apprehended, repatriation to their home country can be a death sentence.
While the United States offers asylum to individuals who can prove credible fear of returning to their home country, Hondurans who apply for asylum have only a 7 percent acceptance rate. This suggests that the US is largely unwilling to admit to the political abuses of its regional ally. We have met individuals in grave medical condition who refuse to seek emergency care, aware that calling an ambulance will also bring them into Border Patrol custody and end in deportation. Increased border militarization places these individuals at higher risk of death.
Receiving asylum requires painting one’s country in racialist, colonialist terms, while at the same time disavowing the United States’ role in contributing to the oppressive conditions that one fled. For queer immigrants in particular, the asylum process is one in which applicants must invoke U.S. “progressiveness” against the backdrop of Third World “backwardness.””
— Queer Migrations: Sexuality, U.S. Citizenship, and Border Crossings. Edited by Eithne Luibhéid and Lionel Cantú, Jr. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.
Any #Immigration policy that ignores the fundamental difference in the human development index (HDI) between Mexico and the United States is not a sound way to tackle migration from our neighbor.
"We’ve lost control of our borders. They MUST be rounded up and deported…"