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Aviva Chomsky: What's at Stake in the Border Debate
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The militarization of the police has been underway since 9/11, but only in the aftermath of the six-shot killing of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, with photos of streets in a St. Louis suburb that looked like occupied Iraq or Afghanistan, has the fact of it, the shock of it, seemed to hit home widely. Congressional representatives are now proposing bills to stop the Pentagon from giving the latest in war equipment to local police forces. The president even interrupted his golfing vacation on Martha’s Vineyard to return to Washington, in part for “briefings” on the ongoing crisis in Ferguson. So militarization is finally a major story.

And that’s no small thing. On the other hand, the news from Ferguson can’t begin to catch the full process of militarization this society has been undergoing or the way America’s distant wars are coming home. We have, at least, a fine book by Radley Balko on how the police have been militarized. Unfortunately, on the subject of the militarization of the country, there is none. And yet from armed soldiers in railway stations to the mass surveillance of Americans, from the endless celebration of our “warriors” to the domestic use of drones, this country has been undergoing a significant process of militarization (and, if there were such a word, national securitization).

Perhaps nowhere has this been truer than on America’s borders and on the subject of immigration. It’s no longer “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The U.S. is in the process of becoming a citadel nation with up-armored, locked-down borders and a Border Patrol operating in a “Constitution-free zone” deep into the country. The news is regularly filled with discussions of the need to “bolster border security” in ways that would have been unimaginable to previous generations. In the meantime, the Border Patrol is producing its own set of Ferguson-style killings as, like SWAT teams around the U.S., it adopts an ever more militarized mindset and the weaponry to go with it. As James Tomsheck, the former head of internal affairs for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, put it recently, “It has been suggested by Border Patrol leadership that they are the Marine Corps of the U.S. law enforcement community. The Border Patrol has a self-identity of a paramilitary border security force and not that of a law enforcement organization.”

It’s in this context that the emotional flare-up over undocumented Central American children crossing the southern border by the thousands took place. In fact, without the process of militarization, that “debate” — with its discussion of “invasions,” “surges,” “terrorists,” and “tip of the spear” solutions — makes no sense. Its language was far more appropriate to the invasion and occupation of Iraq than the arrival in this country of desperate kids, fleeing hellish conditions, and often looking for their parents.


Aviva Chomsky is the author of a new history of just how the words “immigration” and “illegal” became wedded — it wasn’t talked about that way not so many decades ago — and how immigrants became demonized in ways that are familiar in American history. The Los Angeles Times has hailed Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal for adding “smart, new, and provocative scholarship to the immigration debate.” As in her book, so today at TomDispatch, Chomsky puts the most recent version of the immigration “debate” into a larger context, revealing just what we prefer not to see in our increasingly up-armored natio

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Illegal Immigration 
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  1. Harold says:

    A perfect example of one of those articles which even without seeing the authors name, one would confidently bet that the author was Jewish.

    Here is another example:

    Reading the above linked article, and never having heard of the author, I thought to myself “I’ll bet whoever wrote this is Jewish”. I was, of course, right. I can’t recall of the many times thinking such, ever being wrong.

    There is something about the emotional manipulative rhetoric and the chutzpah to exactly invert reality, all in aid of pushing a position against the interest of the majority, that, without fail, marks the author as Jewish.

  2. Anti-gnostic which of the two Engelhardt or Chomsky is the big Israel supporter? I am in no way trying to play gotcha, I am just surprised either would be.

  3. I am waiting for the florid article from Engelhardt or Chomsky describing Israel’s immigration and naturalization policies enforced by its very visible and well-armed military and calling out the Jewish nation as a police state.

    The US admits a million people a year legally and gives them Title VII, public education for their kids, a social safety net and equal protection of the laws and it’s a “police state.” Ridiculous.

  4. pyrrhus says:

    This article is so cockamamie that it is hard to even begin. “Locked down” border??? If only….

  5. AppSocRes says:

    With 10,000,000+ illegal immigrants (They immigrated here against the law. What’s so hard to understand about the terminology, Aviva?) in this country already and an expected 100,000+ more heading this way from central America and Mexico, and God alone knows how many from other parts of the world, perhaps even terror specialists from ISIS’s new Caliphate, it takes a really well-wired double-think mind to describe our borders as “locked down”. Dangerously porous would be a more apt description. The very fact that estimates of illegal immigrants already here must be bracketed with plus or minus a million or two demonstrates that we have no handle on this problem.

    And the latest influx to this country are going to be nothing but a burden. Past experience suggests that over three generations they will refuse to assimilate and will impose enormous tax burdens on native born Americans. Their only benefit is to billionaires like Zuckerman, Adelson, Soros, etc. (Notice something about that list, Aviva?) for whom they are a source of cheap labor and union-busting helots. Why import more unskilled labor when the real unemployment rate among the native-born, unskilled labor force is running above 25%? Even the H1B program is importing cheap STEM labor into a market where there are already 1.5 native-born STEM workers for every available STEM position.

    Why don’t we adopt the far more stringent program of our liberal northern neighbor Canada? I’m not suggesting the ruthlessly criminal exploitation of immigrants practiced by Mexico or the fascist techniques of border control practiced by Israel; just a sane policy that protects the interests of my country, its native-born citizens, and their descendants.

    And, Aviva, I haven’t seen the militarized police you are talking about anywhere except in the midst of out-of-control riots that pose an imminent threat to life, property, and the rule of law and order. Is this where you spend most of your Time, Aviva? If so, one can only wonder why and what you are really up to. If you want to see a seriously militarized and ubiquitous police presence – one that might give you some perspective – I suggest a visit to Israel, Italy, the Philippines, and just about any hell hole in Africa or the Middle East that calls itself a “nation”.

    But really, Aviva, I’m not writing to you. You are obviously an idiot savant with an overly developed facility with words and little additional mental capacity or capability for rational thought. I’m just trying to make transparent to any who might be misled by your drivel how poorly thought out and supported it really is.

  6. The more we embrace open borders and multiculturalism the more divided, tribalized, balkanized and ungovernable we will become, with an ever growing need for a strong central government to maintain order between the crowd that used to be a nearly homogenous nation.
    Diversity does make us stronger, if by us, you mean the elites in control at the top.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  7. @Delmar Jackson

    I put it to people this way: liberty, diversity or equality. Choose one. (H/T Sailer).

  8. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    What is at stake in the border “debate” is this:hyper-ethnic Jews such as Aviva Chomsky and her father Noam Chomsky are waging hyper-ethnic JEWISH warfare against The Historic Native Born White AMERICAN Majority. Wipe away the border….enthusiastically support Mexican Racial Nationalism in the US….and force Whitey to subsidize Whitey’s rapid racial dispossession.

    And yes… The multimillionaire Chomsky….nice second home on Martha’s Vineyard….are in bed with the Mega CEO Corporate Class. What scoundrels the Chomsky’s are!!!!!

  9. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    Noam Chomsky does not support the right of return for Palestinians….because the Israelis wouldn’t never tolerate the right of return for Palestinians….it would be met with extreme violence!!!!

  10. rod1963 says:

    This is just rotten ad-copy for her book.

    I would have expected her to make a half-hearted attempt at making a decent argument for her position. Instead we are treated to mere babble with a dose of hyperbole and a slew of hyperlinks to other Marxists she spewed out between lattes.

    And the fact she got a bunch of other open borders Marxists at the LA Times to give her work good marks means squat.

  11. iSteveFan says:

    The U.S. is in the process of becoming a citadel nation with up-armored, locked-down borders and a Border Patrol operating in a “Constitution-free zone” deep into the country.

    This quote is such garbage. To refute this notion that the US has locked-down its borders, just read this from the Pew Center.

    Internationally, the U.S. is far and away the top destination for immigrants from Mexico. Fully 96% 0f Mexicans who leave Mexico migrate to the U.S. (Connor et al., 2012) Worldwide, 9% of people born in Mexico live in the U.S.3 In addition, the U.S. has more immigrants from Mexico alone than any other country has immigrants.

    Did you catch that? There are more Mexican immigrants in the USA alone than any other nation has total immigrants. So add up all the Pakistani, Indian, West Indian, African, Arab, etc. immigrants combined in the UK, and it is still LESS than the number of Mexican immigrants, (and Mexican immigrants ALONE), in the USA.

    Maybe the militariziation of the police has something to do with the fact that our population has gone from 200 million, of which 85 percent were European stock, to 320 million, of which only 65 percent are of European stock.

    • Replies: @Harold
  12. ghh says:

    Do you morons even read what you write? Noam Chomsky is more anti Israel than you are!

  13. Harold says:

    There are more Mexican immigrants in the USA alone than any other nation has total immigrants

    This can’t be right! Why, America’s borders are so impenetrable it is alike unto a citadel. The border is so militarized that not even a mouse could slip through were he Speedy Gonzales himself.

    A good example of what I meant by “exactly invert reality”.

  14. Harold says:

    Rereading Chomsky’s article I see she only says the US is becoming like a citadel nation. So perhaps not such a good example of an exact inversion of reality. But nonsense just the same.

    Of course the general thrust of the article—that the border being too “locked-down” constitutes a terrible problem for America—is an exact inversion of reality.

  15. i’m glad the comments reveal the rubbish in this diatribe!

    what a load of crap, what planet is this author on?

  16. TJM says:

    It is the greatest example of the times to which we live and the priorities of our government, that while American spends far more, some $560 billion or so a year on “our” military, yet our borders are remain wide open. What is all that vaunted military defending…corporate trade routes, that’s what. You can have an invasion along our southern border and never see a sign of the military, but an oil tanker off the coast of Africa gets in trouble and you will have Navy Seals converging on your location.

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