When an exodus of Central American children occurred this summer, the U.S. media focused on the arrival of more than 60,000 children in Nogales, Arizona, and McAllen, Texas, where the Department of Homeland Security detained thousands of kids in warehouses and Air Force bases. Border hawks were quick to pontificate about the porosity of the U.S.-Mexico divide, perhaps fetishizing a new Berlin Wall, armed with guards with shoot-to-kill orders. Never mind that parts of the U.S. southern international boundary already have massive walls where its guards have shot and killed across the line. What most coverage has ignored, though, is that only one part of the border battle with the refugee children is happening at the U.S. border. Thousands of miles to the south, the Mexican government is taking action to prevent migrants from moving north, essentially performing the tasks of the U.S. Border Patrol.
The U.S. border enforcement apparatus has thus been extended south, in what Border Patrol chief Mike Fisher calls a “layered approach.” As he says, according to the 2012–2016 Border Patrol strategy, “the U.S.-Mexico border is our last line of defense.” Now undocumented Central American border crossers confront such a layer in southern Mexico, 1,000 miles before touching U.S. soil.
Since July, there has been a surge of Mexican immigration agents, federal police and military — with a gauntlet of roadside checkpoints and sophisticated surveillance equipment at their disposal — in an enforcement belt that goes hundreds of miles into Mexico’s interior. “Subordination,” said Miguel Angel Paz of the Mexican immigration rights organization Voces Mesoamericanas, “is part of the relationship Mexico has with the United States.” The U.S. border enforcement regime has gone beyond policing the U.S.-Mexico divide to patrolling south to Central America, targeting the men, women and children seeking refuge in the north.
Read the rest on Al Jazeera: http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/10/mexico-us-borderpatrolsecurityimmigrants.html
A week ago was when I first saw the picture that appeared in the The Telegraph of children in the Gaza Strip trying to break the Guinness world record for kite-flying. The kites floating mid-air off the Mediterranean shore were a sight to behold. I was taken with the photo and the happiness of the Gazan children on the beach, considering that all the news had been about the sustained Israeli bombardment of that besieged Palestinian territory. At first glance, it seemed like a triumph of the human spirit, or at least of the joy of childhood in the face of war. But then I realized that the picture had been taken at a previous time.
Again, I looked at the photo of all the children grouped on the beach, with the breaking, blue waves in the distance. Flying kites was still quite a feat with an unseen Israeli naval blockade six miles out to sea. However, with the sustained attack on the Gaza Strip, which has been going on since July 7, I realized that it was possible—if not probable—that some of these children were dead.
This U.S.-funded Israeli attack (on a 72-hour ceasefire since Tuesday, August 5) was a rallying point for several Los Angeles-based organizations to organize a march on July 25 to protest the visit of President Barack Obama, who was on a trip to raise money for the Democratic Party and its upcoming election campaigns. But there was another reason for the protest. As that march moved forward down the L.A. streets in the mid-day heat, it was visually dominated by people holding flowing flags from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. The defense of Palestinian and immigrant children converged, as a response to the similar strategies of dehumanization used to justify violence against them.
Read the rest here:
Shena Gutierrez was already cuffed and in an inspection room in Nogales, Arizona, when the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent grabbed her purse, opened it, and dumped its contents onto the floor right in front of her. There couldn’t be a sharper image of the Bill of Rights rollback we are experiencing in the U.S. borderlands in the post-9/11 era.
Tumbling out of that purse came Gutierrez’s life: photos of her kids, business cards, credit cards, and other papers, all now open to the official scrutiny of the Department of Homeland Security. There were also photographs of her husband, Jose Gutierrez Guzman, whom CBP agents beat so badly in 2011 that he suffered permanent brain damage. The supervisory agent, whose name badge on his blue uniform read “Gomez,” now began to trample on her life, quite literally, with his black boots.
Read the rest here: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175868/tomgram%3A_todd_miller%2C_bill_of_rights_rollback_in_the_u.s._borderlands/
My appearance on the great podcast hosted by Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola.
As put by Gosztola:
Fifty-two thousand children have fled their homes in countries in Central America and journeyed to the United States. Some of them came with their families and the vast majority of them are now being put through a deportation regime, which President Barack Obama’s administration is committing resources to expediting so they will be sent back to the countries they fled.
Lacking in all of the attention to this crisis is the role of the US. To fully understand the crisis with immigrants or, more accurately, refugees seeking asylum in the US, there must be a focus on the history which has led to this moment.
For the rest of Gosztola’s write up and the audio:
“As record numbers of child migrants from Central America arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border, journalist Todd Miller says the crisis should be a treated as a refugee issue, not a security issue”
“Tuesday’s Topical Currents looks at the issue of U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security’s ever-widening reach into the lives of American citizens and legal immigrants as well as the undocumented.”
“Author Todd Miller discusses how defense contractors look to cash in on President Obama’s expected $2 billion proposal in additional funding for border security”
When we stop the car, David Garcia opens the door, steps out, and walks straight to the metal border gate that officially separates the United States and Mexico. Garcia, an elder of almost sixty, has long graying hair that reaches to his shoulders. Without a word, the former Tohono O’odham tribal councilman opens the gate. He does this as if it were his automatic impulse. There is nobody on the other side waiting to come in, nor are we planning to cross into Mexico ourselves. Garcia opens it simply as if the barrier didn’t belong, as if it were artificial and imposed, something to breach, something to open, something to resist.
The emergence of a ubiquitous surveillance state may be symbolized by the National Security Agency (NSA), but according to journalist Todd Miller those in the United States should also be looking to the nation’s borders. It is there that a creeping militarization threatens – in the name of protecting the country – to encroach upon the civil liberties of everybody in the US.