By Alan Bean
We face two unsettling truths. 1. The immigration reform legislation passed by the Senate is essentially a make-work project for the military-industrial complex. 2. The Senate bill is unacceptable to the conservatives who control the House of Representatives because it includes a path to citizenship.
Cram both those facts into your head and you will understand why a spit-the-difference moderate like Barack Obama can’t move his legislative agenda.
Immigration reform advocates face an ugly Catch-22. If we say no to a fruitless militarization of the border, are we ensuring that no immigration legislation will pass?
There are two strategic responses to this dilemma. Either we shame Congress into passing a reform package free of additional pork for the private prison and military industries; or we make our peace with bizarre new levels of border militarization (with all the misery that entails) as the price for getting some kind of reform bill to the president’s desk.
Conservative senators were willing to sign off on reform because they want to win the next presidential election and their buddies in the defense industry need a new war. House conservatives, desperate to placate the base, are willing to cede the White House to the Democrats. How can a reform agenda survive this kind of political opportunism?
If you question the wisdom of pouring billions of dollars into enhanced “border security” please read Joshua Holland’s article in Salon.
With two wars ending, the “defense” industry sets its sights on its next chance to hit pay dirt: The U.S. border
SATURDAY, JUL 6, 2013 02:15 PM CDT
Last week, John McCain gleefully announced that the Senate immigration bill would result in the “most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall.” Indeed, an amendment authored by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., authorizes a massive increase in border security dollars — including $30 billion for hiring and training 19,000 new border patrol officers over the next 10 years, and over $13 billion for a “comprehensive Southern border strategy” (including 700 miles of high-tech fencing).
What the senators didn’t tout was that the wall is both functionally useless – and will enrich some of the largest military contractors in the world. (more…)