Who put that border there? US-Mexico relations in context

In Politics on 2010/09/16 at 11:55

Check out Chris Arsenault’s article US drones prowl Mexico bicentennial on Al Jazeera English for a reminder of what’s really going on at the US-Mexico border.

Anti-immigrant, isolationist “border hawks” play on the fears of the ignorant for political gain and deliberately ignore history as well as the facts on the ground. Arsenault outlines the sick reality of the increasing and completely unjustified militarisation of America’s southern border. Land that was stolen from Mexico in a trumped up 19th century war is now being “protected” from Mexicans impoverished by a 20th century trade agreement using 21st century technology and techniques perfected in more recent American imperialist wars.

Some will choose to ignore history. What’s done is done and maybe we shouldn’t care about the massive historical injustice being done to Mexicans, the important thing is to protect Americans from the violence spilling over the border. This might be a somewhat legitimate viewpoint if it weren’t for the fact that talk of increasing violence and crime in the south-western US just isn’t true. As Arsenault points out, the four large US cities with the lowest rates of violent crime are all close to the Mexican border. The border region is not a hotbed of violence, in fact it’s one of the safest places in the country. This doesn’t fit well into the Wild West/Gang Invasion/Mos Eisley Cantina (by the way Han shot first!) stories that right-wing fear mongers have introduced into the discourse, so they just ignore them. The real source of fears of dangerous Mexicans coming across the border isn’t facts or logic, it’s racism and bigotry.

It’s easy for people on this side of the wall to demonize and fear the rest of the world, but anyone willing to open their mind a little, learn some basic history, and get over their xenophobia will soon see that militarising the US-Mexico border can’t solve anything.

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