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.
Todd Miller speaks with Truthout about his new book, Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security and about how the public is unaware that this country’s borders are being transformed into heavily militarized zones, north and south.
You’ve been reporting about the border for several years now, what made you decide to focus on border patrol and what surprised you the most in your findings?
One of the first acts of journalism that I did was photograph a crew from the U.S. Army corps of engineers when they were building the wall between Douglas and Agua Prieta in the late 1990s. That was when Border Patrol was concentrating agents and technology, and building walls in the urban areas along the 2,000 mile U.S. Mexico border. Then in 2001 I was working for a binational organization in Tucson, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora when 9/11 hit. With this, I witnessed first hand the advent of the homeland security era of the Border Patrol. The results of this have been nothing less than startling.
Hour 2: In recent years, the U.S. Border Patrol has expanded its reach into everything from surveillance to security at the Super Bowl. We’ll talk about the organization’s increased presence in our everyday lives with Todd Miller, author of Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security (City Lights Publishers).