News Release

U.S.-Mexican Border: A New Front of the War on Terror?

TODD MILLER, toddmiller70 at hotmail.com
Todd Miller has researched and written about U.S.-Mexican border issues for more than 10 years. He just wrote the article, “Bringing the Battlefield to the Border, The Wild World of Border Security and Boundary Building in Arizona,” which states: “William ‘Drew’ Dodds, the salesperson for StrongWatch, a Tucson-based company, is at the top of his game when he describes developments on the southern border of the United States in football terms. In his telling, that boundary is the line of scrimmage, and the technology his company is trying to sell — a mobile surveillance system named Freedom-On-The-Move, a camera set atop a retractable mast outfitted in the bed of a truck and maneuvered with an Xbox controller — acts like a ‘roving linebacker.’

“As Dodds describes it, unauthorized migrants and drug traffickers often cross the line of scrimmage undetected. At best, they are seldom caught until the “last mile,” far from the boundary line. His surveillance system, he claims, will cover a lot more of that ground in very little time and from multiple angles. It will become the border-enforcement equivalent of New York Giants’ linebacking great, Lawrence Taylor.

“To listen to Dodds, an ex-Marine — Afghanistan and Iraq, 2001-2004 — with the hulking physique of a linebacker himself, is to experience a new worldview being constructed on the run. Even a decade or so ago, it might have seemed like a mad dream from the American fringe. These days, his all-the-world’s-a-football-field vision seemed perfectly mainstream inside the brightly-lit convention hall in Phoenix, Arizona, where the seventh annual Border Security Expo took place this March. Dodds was just one of hundreds of salespeople peddling their border-enforcement products and national security wares, …[and] one of more than a hundred companies scrambling for a profitable edge in an exploding market.

“As that buzzing convention floor made clear, the anything-goes approach to immigration enforcement found in Arizona — home to SB1070, the infamous anti-immigrant law now before the Supreme Court — has generated interest from boundary-militarizers elsewhere in the country and the world. An urge for zero-tolerance-style Arizona borders is spreading fast, as evidenced by the convention’s clientele. In addition to U.S. Border Patrol types, attendees came from law enforcement outfits and agencies nationwide, and from 18 countries around the world, including Israel and Russia. …

“More than one million migrants have been deported from the country over the last three and a half years under the Obama administration, numbers that surpass those of the Bush years. This should be a reminder that a significant, if overlooked, part of this country’s post 9/11 security iron fist has been aimed not at al-Qaeda but at the undocumented migrant. Indeed, as writer Roberto Lovato points out, there has been an ‘al-Qaedization of immigrants and immigration policy.’ And as in the Global War on Terror, military-industrial companies like Boeing and Halliburton are cashing in on this version of for-profit war.”