Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security


Product Details

$25.00  $23.25
City Lights Books
Publish Date
5.2 X 7.9 X 0.8 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

For the past fifteen years, Todd Miller has researched, written about, and worked on immigration and border issues from both sides of the U.S. Mexico divide for organizations such as BorderLinks, Witness for Peace, and NACLA. He did the brunt of this work in Tucson, Arizona and Oaxaca, Mexico, with stints in New York City. Between Tucson and the Buffalo/Niagara Falls region of New York state where he grew up, he has spent the majority of his life close to the U.S. international boundary, south and north. His writings about the border have appeared in the New York Times, TomDispatch, Mother Jones, The Nation, Al Jazeera English, and Salon among other places.


Todd Miller's powerful prose belies what one hopes is a growing sense of outrage at the inhuman and racist goals of U.S. border enforcement. His journeys from place to place and the complexities he presents within the Border Patrol itself provide the reader with a comprehensive picture of what's wrong in the United States. This is a book that should not be ignored.--Dawn Paley, Upside Down World

If examined closely enough, the swollen border security complex also reveals who watches and who is watched. Miller has done us all a great service by helping to expose this dichotomy.--Aaron Cantu, Latino Rebels

" ... it is an important wake-up call for those who have not kept up with the morally troubling expansion of this mammoth security apparatus."--Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice

Miller is not an armchair theorist. He has reported on border issues for a decade, including for the New York Times ... He writes of the people he sees as the victims of the Border Patrol's abrasiveness and also of the cruel deportation policy of the Obama administration that breaks up families ... But the book shows surprising sympathy for many agents who are required by their jobs to be enforcers of a tough system.--Tony Perry, Miami Herald

Miller's approach in Border Patrol Nation is to offer a glimpse into the secretive operations of the Border Patrol, reporting with a journalist's objectivity and nose for a good story. Miller's book is full of facts, and it's clear he's outraged, but he gives voices to people on every side of the issue ... Miller's book is a fascinating read ... and bring the work of Susan Orlean to mind.--from interview with author by Amanda Eyre Ward, Kirkus Reviews

[Miller] offers a vision of what the military-industrial complex looks like once it's transported, jobs and all, to the US-Mexican border and turned into a consumer mall for the post-9/11 era ... [it's] a striking and original picture.--Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

Solid, absorbing reportage on the government's racist and constitutionally questionable notions of border security in the post-9/11 world ... An unsettling but important read."--Kirkus Reviews

What Jeremy Scahill was to Blackwater, Todd Miller is to the U.S. Border Patrol!--Tom Miller, author, On the Border: Portraits of America's Southwestern Frontier

Todd Miller has entered a secret world, and he has gone deep. If you want to learn about the Border Patrol's world, you will find this book informative and startling. I'm not sure the Border Patrol will like all that he has to say. But his is a moral work that wrestles with a huge story. Powerful.--Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil's Highway: A True Story

Journalist Miller tells an alarming story of U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security's ever-widening reach into the lives of American citizens and legal immigrants as well as the undocumented. He describes the militarization of the Border Patrol and concurrent dehumanizing of 'unauthorized' persons; American citizens routinely harassed and arrested in Constitution-free zones that extend 100 miles from all borders; the expulsion of a exemplary Border Patrol agent for expressing his Mexican identity in casual conversation; and the Border Patrol's Explorer Academy for children, which, with its lock-step marching, black boots, law-enforcement training, and indoctrination is eerily evocative of fascism and Hitler Youth. Miller reveals the 'complex and industrial world' looming behind the border patrol, spanning 'robotics, engineers, salespeople and detention centers' and the new generation of Explorers. 'It is the world in which we now live, ' he states, 'where eradicating border violations is given higher priority than eradicating malnutrition, poverty, homelessness, illiteracy, [and] unemployment.' In addition to readers interested in immigration issues, those concerned about the NSA's privacy violations will likely be even more shocked by the actions of Homeland Security.--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

I encourage everyone to read this book and to recommend it to colleagues, friends and family who live far from the border and perhaps don't know yet that they live in Border Patrol Nation ... They will soon enough.--Molly Molloy, editor, Frontera List

Todd Miller's book Border Patrol Nation has some eye opening reporting, especially for those of us who live along the border and think we know the facts of the expanding police state. Well, I didn't know the Border Patrol provided security for the Superbowl. And I was ignorant of their youth groups and the scale of such propaganda work. I don't think anyone can read this book without being alarmed by the growing presence of surveillance, the expense and the apparent acceptance by our fellow citizens of this new national police force. He illustrates how the border increasingly is running right through our living rooms regardless of where we live as the claims of the security state crush any ideas of personal freedom. And like any good book, the reader will argue with some pages and think about others. Miller also captures how the universities are become satanic mills for the growing industry of spying on us for our own good. Who knows, maybe the academy will stop accepting grants from the people who want to build more cages and instead become centers of critical thinking.--Charles Bowden, author of Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields

The U.S. needs a reality check about its border with Mexico, and none need it more than the Congress. I wish every member could get a copy of Border Patrol Nation, and see up close the impact of a quarter century of increasing enforcement and militarization. Todd Miller has done an important service for those who make our laws, and the rest of us too, in giving us this reality check. He's told the real story of the border as a place where people live and work, in many ways a unique and beautiful place, but now scarred, as he so eloquently describes, by injustice and even death.--David Bacon, author, The Right to Stay Home: How U.S. Policy Drives Mexican Migration

In Border Patrol Nation, Todd Miller takes us on a terrifying journey crisscrossing the borders of our nation to find decaying carcasses, loving families ripped apart by deportations and whole swaths of territory now militarized. Miller exposes the underpinnings of this ever-expanding surveillance state--military contractors that rake in fat profits and bloated government agencies that keep extending their tentacles while the core of our neighborhoods wither from neglect. Miller reveals the humanity of both the victims and the victimizers, and the inhumanity of the system. A fantastic book.--Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink and author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control

Border Patrol Nation takes the reader on a voyage like no other book. From El Paso to Detroit, from reality television to corporate trade shows, from South Carolina to the Dominican Republic, Todd Miller paints a highly original and illuminating picture of the breadth and depth of the U.S. government's boundary and immigrant policing apparatus, and surveillance and social control in the era of 'Homeland Security.' It is a book that frightens and inspires, and one that demands a wide audience. Miller's message is one we ignore at our peril.--Joseph Nevins, author of Operation Gatekeeper and Beyond: The War On Illegals and the Remaking of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary

"Todd Miller provides a tour de force of the ever-growing, metastasizing border enforcement apparatus focused on threats posed by immigrants, drug runners, and nearly non-existent terrorists. From the U.S.-Mexico divide and the U.S.-Canada boundary and many interior areas between, to the Caribbean and the border separating the Dominican Republic and Haiti, reinforced (against Haitians) with assistance from U.S. Border Patrol, Miller highlights the problem of the fetishistic over-use of coercive technology and human resources cum militarization to address what are essentially underlying social problems. Miller renders it all with the vivid human experiences and agency of residents, citizens, government authorities, technocrats, contractors/profiteers, and immigrants and their families. This book deserves a very wide audience from concerned citizens to policy-makers, to students and scholars in a wide array of fields."--Timothy Dunn, Professor, Dept. of Sociology, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD, and author of The Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1978-1992: Low Intensity Conflict Doctrine Comes Home and Blockading the Border and Human Rights: The El Paso Operation that Remade Immigration Enforcement

"If you want to know what's really going on behind the Border Patrol code names and billion dollar budgets, read this book. Through lively narratives drawn from dozens of personal interviews with agents and the people they pepper spray or worse, Todd Miller connects the dots. From conventions marketing micro-robots and urine bags to the University of Tuscon's curriculum based on Homeland Security funding, to the recruiting campaigns inducing people from retail jobs to 70k entry-level positions as border agents, Border Patrol Nation is a relentless, fast-paced, and sophisticated analysis that takes you from the tribal lands of Arizona to Goat Island, Niagara Falls, exposing embarrassing evidence of our government's meanness and stupidity."--Jacqueline Stevens, Professor, Political Science Department, Director, Deportation Research Clinic, Northwestern University, and author of States Without Nations: Citizenship for Mortals

Border Patrol Nation dissects the 2,000-mile illusion--2,000 miles of greed and corruption and death--that threatens to swallow our rights, our hope and our entire country. Todd Miller investigates the bloated bureaucracies, the corporate interests, the ruthless politicians and policies invested in this dangerous illusion. Border Patrol Nation documents the need to end the illusion.--Roberto Lovato, writer, co-founder and strategist at