NDN has been at the forefront of examining how the U.S. Mexico Border is undergoing a profound change due to the unprecedented resources being provided by the Obama Administration. We have also been making the argument that securing the border should not be used as a reason not to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform.
Juliette Kayyem has written a compelling editorial in the Boston Globe, that provides further context to how the border has changed in recent years, the full story is here:
IN HIS address last week in El Paso, President Obama made a new push for immigration reform. Just a few feet away, the Mexican flag waved from that country’s side of the border. There were no decapitated bodies, lootings, or shootings during Obama’s speech. That may seem surprising, as fears of spillover violence from Mexico have captivated our national imagination. We tend to view Mexico through the lens of a border war. Such a focus overemphasizes the threat the United States faces at the border, and underestimates the challenges Mexico is facing internally. We blame Mexico for almost nonexistent violence here, and take no responsibility for how our conduct helps fuel violence over there.
The editorial also does a great job in showing just how much of what occurs on the Border has been politicized:
House Speaker John Boehner paints a picture of utter chaos when arguing that “our first priority must be ending the violence at the border — we really can’t deal with other issues until it is secure.” If that’s the standard, it has been met. Let’s consider, just for the fun of it, Boehner’s great state of Ohio. The six largest cities in Ohio all have higher rates of violence and crime than every major American city along the Mexican border. In fact, the speaker’s own district in Dayton saw more homicides in 2010 than Texas’s four largest border cities combined; Dayton’s population is only about one-tenth of the size.
Simon does an excellent job of contextualizing just how much progress has been on our southern border:
The reality is a dynamic border, better managed and protected due to investments in technology and increased manpower by the last two US administrations and the Mexican government. It is where legal trade flourishes, people and goods cross without incident, and where local economies grow. Daily, nearly a million people cross the border lawfully at 54 different checkpoints over 2,000 miles.
“We now let more of the things we want through: legal goods and people — and fewer of the things we don’t: smuggled migrants, drugs, bulk cash, guns,’’ said Simon Rosenberg of the think tank NDN, which works on border issues.