News Release

“No Need to Build The Donald’s Wall, It’s Built”

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TODD MILLER, toddmemomiller[at]gmail.com, @memomiller
Miller, author of Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Homeland Security, just wrote the piece “No Need to Build The Donald’s Wall, It’s Built,” for TomDispatch.com.

The piece states: “Donald Trump’s United States doesn’t await his presidency. It’s already laid out before us, and one place it’s happening every single day is in Tucson, only seven blocks from my house.” The piece tells the story of Ignacio Sarabia, who tells the judge that he was trying to visit his infant son, who is about to have heart surgery and is a U.S. citizen.

Writes Miller: “Twenty-one years before Trump’s wall-building promise (and seven years before the 9/11 attacks), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began to replace the chain link fence that separated Nogales, Sonora, in Mexico from Nogales, Arizona, in the United States with a wall built of rusty landing mats from the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. … In 1994, the threat wasn’t ‘terrorism.’ In part, the call for more hardened, militarized borders came in response, among other things, to a never-ending drug war. It also came from U.S. officials who anticipated the displacement of millions of Mexicans after the implementation of the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which, ironically, was aimed at eliminating barriers to trade and investment across North America. …

“Over the next 20 years, that border apparatus would expand exponentially in terms of personnel, resources, and geographic reach, but the central strategy of the 1990s (labeled ‘Prevention Through Deterrence’) remained the same. The ever-increasing border policing and militarization funneled desperate migrants into remote locations like the Arizona desert where temperatures can soar to 120 degrees in the summer heat. … More than 6,000 remains [of dead people] have been found in the desert borderlands of the United States. Hundreds of families continue to search for disappeared loved ones. …

“Although wall construction began during Bill Clinton’s administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) built most of the approximately 700 miles of fencing after the Secure Fence Act of 2006 was passed. At the time, Senator Hillary Clinton voted in favor of that Republican-introduced bill, along with 26 other Democrats. ‘I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in,’ she commented at one 2015 campaign event, ‘and I do think you have to control your borders.’ …

“If the comprehensive immigration reform that Hillary Clinton pledges to introduce as president is based on the already existing bipartisan Senate package, as has been indicated, then this corporate-enforcement landscape will be significantly bolstered and reinforced. There will be 19,000 more Border Patrol agents in roving patrols throughout ‘border enforcement jurisdictions’ that extend up to 100 miles inland. More F-150 trucks and all-terrain vehicles will rumble through and, at times, tear up the desert. There will be more Blackhawk helicopters, flying low, their propellers dusting groups of scattering migrants, many of them already lost in the vast, parched desert. …

“On the surface, there are important differences between Clinton’s and Trump’s immigration platforms. Trump’s wildly xenophobic comments and declarations are well known, and Clinton claims that she will, among other things, fight for family unity for those forcibly separated by deportation and enact ‘humane’ immigration enforcement. Yet deep down, the policies of the two candidates are far more similar than they might at first appear.”

Miller’s past pieces include “Why Is an Israeli Defense Contractor Building a ‘Virtual Wall’ in the Arizona Desert?” for The Nation.