An Eight-Point Plan to Repair the U.S.-Mexico Border

Read this full post on the Berkeley Blog

Ten years ago, in 2005, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security introduced its Secure Border Initiative (SBI). Today, the Mexico-U.S. wall is a fact of everyday life for millions of people who live in its shadow. Disagreements persist about how effective the border fortifications have been, but two outcomes are certain: the SBI intervention has massively disrupted community, commerce, and environment along the border zone; and created a bloated ‘border industrial complex,’ consisting of surveillance infrastructures and enforcement personnel that intervene in the lives of US citizens even though they are intended to target undocumented migrants, smugglers, and terrorists.

During the entire SBI decade there has been little or no evidence that the plight of border dwellers is of much concern to federal governments in Washington D.C. and Mexico City, where the legal authority (and responsibility) for immigration, customs, and national security resides.


Lost in this haze of binational political inertia are the voices of border residents. What do the citizens of the borderland ‘third nation’ want? Based on conversations on both sides of the line, I’ve assembled an action program defined by border people themselves. In a nutshell: they want to get their lives back; to manage their own destinies without interference from outsiders; and to act urgently to help themselves. …

On a clear day, you can watch the fence extend forever. Near Campo, CA. © 2008 Michael Dear.