Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Border Policy Report -- More Politics Than Policy

Effective Border Policy: Security, Responsibility and Human Rights at the U.S.-Mexico Border” November 2008, Washington, D.C. A new policy report by three U.S. border human rights groups in collaboration with the Washington, DC-based National Immigration Forum is full of important concerns and good intentions, but falls woefully short as a policy document. Those who support a liberal immigration policy that includes legalization and ends the terrorizing raids on communities and workplaces badly need expert analysis and policy recommendations based on grounded perspectives of what’s happening at the border. This report, however, is driven more by a set of progressive politics and dogmas than by timely, informed analysis. What’s truly stunning about the report, which purports to convey the view of borderlands residents about the “dynamic” border, is its one-sidedness. You wouldn’t know from reading the report that on the other side of these interconnected borderlands is complete mayhem. Despite noting the important cross-border ties that exist, it’s as if the problems of “security,” issues of “responsibility,” and abuses of “human rights” – the report’s three focus areas -- stop at the line. The report warns, for example, about the dangers of the “militarization” of U.S. border control. Yet on the other side of the border militarization isn’t an exaggeration but is all too real as the Mexican military, drug cartels, armed street bandits wage what verges on civil war.

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