Border Issues

In last night's address to the country on immigration President Bush spoke of "recognizing the problems with our immigration system...[which] puts pressure on public schools and hospitals, strains state and local budgets, and brings crime to our communities." Naturally, since "we are a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws...the United States must secure its borders...[by] calling on Congress to provide funding...[to] increase the number of Border Patrol officers by an additional 6,000...construct high-tech fences in urban corridors, and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas."

Given that it will take time to train an additional 6,000 officers, the President proposes, "to use the National Guard...up to 6,000 Guard members...for a period of one year." He further states, "It is important for Americans to know that we have enough Guard forces to win the war on terror, respond to natural disasters, and help secure our border." Yet somehow he rationalizes, "The United States is not going to militarize the southern border."

Bush proposes further initiatives in his suggestions for an immigration reform bill (temporary worker program, holding employees responsible for hiring illegal immigrants, etc.), though none has a more immediate physical presence or mental image than the border and its enforcement.

Missing image - us-mexico.jpg

The above image is one of many over at Polar Inertia of William Howard's us-mexico border survey, a project that "surveys the visual drama of the border, the way it marks the land, and also the human drama, politics, economics and history embedded in a barrier, the way a person's geographic position a few yards one way or the other can provide them with a profoundly different life experience."

Howard explains, "As I photographed the border from the Mexican side I tried to imagine how it must look to immigrants from the south, arriving there for the first time and being able to peer beyond the walls into the United States. What are their hopes and expectations? I would be terrified to cross the border without documents, yet thousands of people do it every day."

When I read Bush's transcribed address, it's this sort of compassionate thinking embodied in these images that is missing. In its place is even more military use, the strengthening of the prison-industrial complex, and a whole lot of distraction from more important issues.


  1. While the US was concentrated on their southern border, hoards of beaver-mounted rocket launchers and moose transport vehicles descended on the land from the north.

    My covert ops have seen them mobilizing with my own eyes.

  2. America's gonna wished it ever made fun of Canada in things like Canadian Bacon.

  3. Yes, that song in South Park The Movie didn't go over well with my favorite Canadienne either. And then Robin Williams had to go and sing it during the Academy Awards to add insult to injury.

    We'll all be eating maple syrup and poutine instead of burritos and burgers soon.

  4. I meant never in that comment by the way.

    Frankly, for somebody who loves pancakes, I can't say I mind a future steeped in maple syrup. Poutine, on the other hand, just sounds gross.


Post a Comment

Comments are moderated for spam.