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Senator Peters visits the US/Mexican Border, praises US Customs and Border officials, gets excited about new border security weaponry

April 19, 2021

Earlier this month, Michigan Senator Gary Peters visited the US/Mexican border to meet with US Customs and Border officials. 

The trip by Peters didn’t receive much media attention, especially by Michigan-based news sources.

We only came across this story by reading a Media Release from Senator Peters’ website, which stated in part:

“I appreciated the opportunity to visit the Southern Border and to hear from officials on the ground about the work they’re doing to meet our security and humanitarian challenges,” said Senator Peters, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “I’ll continue to work with the Biden Administration, my colleagues in Congress, and relevant officials and agencies to ensure our borders are secure and that unaccompanied children and asylum seekers are treated in a humane way and can have their applications processed efficiently.”

According to a story in the Dallas Morning News, the trip was closed to the news media. That same article in the Dallas Morning News also spent a great deal of time discussing the immigration crisis, sharing stories from immigrants who are in detention and discussing the Mexican government’s compliance with the Biden administration’s request to increase the militarization of their borders.

Senator Peters alludes to the militarization of the US/Mexican border as well, but in a positive fashion, by stating in his Media Release:

“I was impressed by the Yuma Proving Ground and the critical testing of new technologies there that will define the future of warfare,” said Senator Peters, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. “Ensuring that our military is prepared to face ever-evolving threats will continue to be one of my top priorities.”

Such a statement from Peters is not surprising, not just because he is Chairman of the Homeland Security, but because he is deeply committed to funneling Pentagon contracts to private companies, like the one based in Warren, Michigan, which makes combat vehicles used by the US Border Patrol, mentioned in the Senator’s Media Release.

This dynamic of supporting the militarization of the US/Mexican border has been part of the Democratic Party’s platform for decades. Sure, the Democrats were against the Trump wall along the US/Mexican border, but that was just a tactical difference and good optics, The fact is that the Democratic Party has not only been supporting an increase of militarization of the border, which escalated during the Clinton administration, they have made “border security” a priority for a very long time. 

Even when the Democrats talk about Comprehensive Immigration Reform, it always includes additional funding for border security, just like it did in the prosed 2013 bill that was defeated. When you hear border security, what that really means is an increase in funding to militarize the border, the use of technology – like the use of drones, an increase in surveillance, and a more punitive approach to dealing with undocumented immigrants attempting to enter the US. This is a theme that is well documented in Todd Miller’s latest book, Build Bridges, Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders.

It is imperative that we come to terms with the fact that the militarization of the US/Mexican border, and immigration policy in general, is fundamentally a bipartisan affair. I encourage people to read Daniel Denvir’s book, All-American Nativism: How the Bipartisan War on Immigrants Explains Politics as We Know It. 

The most recent visit by Senator Peters to the US/Mexican border, which was primarily about supporting US Customs and Border agents, along with praising new weapons technology along the border, should be seen as consistent with the bipartisan border policy that Denvir documents so well in his book. 

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