"The project of Border Patrol Nation is to gate people, into a world of clear and enforceable divisions. These are not only divisions between citizens and foreigners, insiders and outsiders, but also between the haves (and all the 'interests' they need to protect) and the have-nots. It is a division between the global North and the global South. In this brightly divided world, the more apparent crime is that of the individual straggling street walker, not the profit-obsessed system that abandons entire communities of children, youth, men, and women to grow up and live their lives in collapsing, contaminated, foreclosed ruins. The criminal is the person looking for a job without papers, not the 'free trade agreements' that traditional communities call a 'death sentence,' forcing small farmers, factory workers, and small business owners to work for slave wages, emigrate, or organize rebellion. Never in the history of the world have there been so many hundreds of millions of people forced to leave their homes because they cannot endure the miserable poverty imposed by 'free trade' and globalization.
"The Border Patrol Nation convinces the country to comply with the expensive notion that we need to be protected from these dangerous outsiders coming for our safety. The country complies by handing over liberty, privacy, and free speech, so that those in authority can maintain constant surveillance, monitoring people's movements, emails, texts, phone calls, purchases, social networks, and associations in order to eliminate suspected threats before they fully develop. In short, almost everyone outside the upper echelons of political and monied power needs to be closely monitored.
"This is the crux of the situation: according to today's Homeland Security regime all but the elite and all-powerful few should be monitored as a potential threat. 'Americans have long understood that the rich get good lawyers and get off, while the poor suck eggs and do time,' writes Matt Taibbi in the February 2013 issue of Rolling Stone. What we are seeing today, he continues, 'is something different. This is the government admitting to being afraid to prosecute the very powerful — something it never did even in the heydays of Al Capone or Pablo Escobar, something it didn't do even with Richard Nixon. And when you admit that some people are too important to prosecute, it's just a few short steps to the obvious corollary — that everybody else is unimportant enough to jail. An arrestable class and an unarrestable class. We always suspected it, now it's admitted. So what do we do?'
"The very things we are supposed to fear from a foreign attack — not only the home invasions, physical abuse, detainments, interrogations, and confiscation of personal belongings already part and parcel of Border Patrol tactics, but also the eerie loss of free speech, the loss of what one can and can't study, and thus the loss of what one can and can't think — are already happening. Take the more than 7,000 people arrested and sent to jail for protesting at Occupy events. Take the 34,000 people incarcerated at any given moment in our profit-driven immigration detention system. Take the case of former Border Patrol agent Bryan Gonzalez, who dared to speak what he thought about his Mexican heritage and drug legalization.
"Perhaps it is the words of Tucson-based attorney and activist of Isabel Garcia that best sum up the situation we see in our collapsing communities, towns, and cities in places like Niagara Falls and Nogales: 'We all want security, we want a home, good housing. We want quality health care, we want good education, we want good roads, we want a healthy community. This is not giving us security at all. While we are firing teachers left and right, and closing schools everywhere . . . and we are hiring more and more Border Patrol agents.' "