The situation on the U.S. border with Mexico may be spinning out of control -- not because of Mexicans trying to cross illegally, but because of the army of Border Patrol agents that is being amassed at the cost of billions of tax dollars.
According to journalist Todd Miller, author of “Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Homeland Security,” the U.S. spent $90 billion on border enforcement in the decade after the
The rush to beef up security after 9/11 was driven by the new fear that terrorists would creep into the country and by the longtime concern about thousands of undocumented immigrants sneaking up from Latin America. Arguably, the dramatically increased surveillance and interdiction has contributed to a sharp drop in illegal immigration and, so far, no terrorists have been discovered trying to cross from Mexico or Canada.
But the new, massive round of spending being proposed may have less to do with terrorists or Mexicans -- those concerns seem to have been met -- than with defense contractors who see America's wars winding down. Border security is a new cash cow for them, and the more security they can sell, the more profit they will make, even if that security is unnecessary and redundant.
Effectively, both our southern and northern borders are already militarized. If even more manpower and equipment are added, we may have a lot of guys with guns without enough to keep them busy. Miller reports that, already, regular citizens in border areas are feeling as if they live in a war zone where random searches are increasingly common and border agents turn up on private property challenging the right of residents to be on their own land.
In 2008, Vermont Sen.
This year, Leahy, chairman of the