Infrastructures of Occupation: US-Mexican Border 1848 to Present

Published in Infrastructure Space: Berlin: Ruby Press, 2017, Ika and Andreas Ruby (eds.). p.84-92.


Inherent complexities present insurmountable challenges in risk analysis for large-scale infrastructure projects, especially in zones of geopolitical sensitivity. In the case of the US-MX international boundary line, available measures of border security lack precision and comprehensivity, but still provide important guidelines for some aspects of future policy-making. However, other pertinent dimensions of risk assessment that are routinely ignored include negative impacts of the ‘occupation’ by security apparatuses of border-adjacent communities, overreach and abuse by agencies engaged by the ‘border industrial complex,’ and the needs and aspirations of border communities. By incorporating such dimensions, binational infrastructure planning in the US-MX borderlands could be better targeted and prioritized, and ensure accountability for mitigating negative outcomes.

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