Friday, February 12, 2016

The Case Against the “Humanitarian Border”

How the Border Patrol’s humanitarian rhetoric only furthers the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border.

By Jill M. Williams, NACLA Report on the Americas
December 22, 2015

For unauthorized migrants, more restrictive and militarized border enforcement regimes worldwide have made transnational migration an increasingly deadly endeavor. The International Organization for Migration estimates that since the early 1990s, over six thousand migrants have died in the borderlands where the United States and Mexico meet, while over 22,000 people have perished in the Mediterranean Sea.

In response, assemblages of NGOs and governmental agencies have emerged in many border regions to mitigate the physical consequences of border enforcement. From military-assisted policing and surveillance efforts to migrant reception and aid centers, these efforts are loosely grouped under the umbrella term “humanitarian interventions.” Each provides a different level of assistance and opens or closes different legal avenues for the migrants involved.

Political scientist William Walters has referred to the proliferation of migrant aid and services in the borderlands as the emergence of the “humanitarian border”[...]

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