The irony of tightening border security

As a Sergio Hernandez is killed at Rio Grande, shouldn't we be thinking hard about sending more troops there?

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Reform, War Room,

The irony of tightening border securityForensic experts examine the body Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca on Monday, June 7.

President Obama recently decided to deploy 1,200 troops to the U.S.-Mexican border, and Republicans in Congress are pushing to dispatch thousands more than that. But this week’s news that a 15-year-old was shot and killed by Border Patrol agents — on top of a similar shooting death two weeks ago — suggests the possibility that increased security may fuel more violence, instead of pacifying the border.

On Monday, Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca and his friends were reportedly playing in a dry section of the Rio Grande, in Mexico, and throwing rocks at border guards. According to an eyewitness, an agent arrived on a bike and started shooting at the teenagers. Hernández hid behind a wall, and when he looked out, he was shot. A U.S official quoted by the Associated Press said the agent didn’t enter Mexico, and according to the FBI, border security was responding to a group of suspected illegal immigrants trying to cross. Late Tuesday night, a banner appeared on the bridge under which Hernández was shot. It read: “U.S. Border Patrol we worry about the violence in Mex and murders and now you. Viva Mexico!”

An Arizona newspaper quoted Sen. John McCain citing drug cartels and the violence they spur as one of the main reasons he and fellow Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl’s proposal to send 6,000 more troops to the border. It’s easy to see the popular appeal of this call. As the drug war escalates in Mexico, the national mood naturally gravitates toward slamming the door on that mess down south. That’s why even though the “congressional appetite” was not ripe to discuss a reform, Republicans seem to be repeating “border first” like a broken record.

Seth Hoy writes in the blog Immigration Impact that Obama’s May deployment of troops to the border is hopefully a bargaining chip, but it may also be an act of accommodation:

You Might Also Like

While the President’s intentions to address the real sources of violence and crime along the border—that is, drug cartels and gun traffickers, not immigrants—is duly noted, the President is being perceived as piling enforcement on enforcement and pandering to Republicans with no real forward movement on reform.

And it may also be a more populist move than a reasonable one.

David Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego, says that though Border Patrol have increased in number over the last decade, drugs and guns are still being smuggled across the border:

The border patrol has doubled in size to 20,000 agents—up 15 percent from previous year and more than double a decade ago. There are also more than 3,000 Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents, 300 National Guard troops (with 1,200 more on their way), and a significant surge in the number of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms personnel. However, border security advocates say that this is still not enough.

Indeed, the border-centric approach has encouraged drug trafficking organizations to evolve from relatively small scale, low-level operations in the 1980s into the highly sophisticated, heavily-armed criminal organizations that are today seriously undermining the Mexican state. The flow of drugs and immigrants continued practically unabated, despite these very costly investments in border security.

“Because the border is more difficult to cross, more money is going to smugglers,” said Judith Gans, researcher at the University of Arizona, in a phone interview. “People have to start paying more sophisticated human smugglers and these are often drug smugglers, too.”

Arizona’s anti-immigration law was ignited by the killing of Cochise County rancher Robert Krentz by someone who authorities speculated may have been a drug smuggler or illegal immigrant. The law pushed immigration debate to the forefront amid panicked calls for a border-first strategy. And that panic is still be leading the way since April. Maybe the death of  a child on the border will spark a different discussion.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>