Border Games: Policing the U.S.-Mexico Divide

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Cornell University Press, 2000 - Political Science - 158 pages
The U.S.-Mexico border is the busiest in the world, the longest and most dramatic meeting point of a rich and poor country, and the site of intense confrontation between law enforcement and law evasion. Border control has changed in recent years from a low-maintenance and politically marginal activity to an intensive campaign focusing on drugs and migrant labor. Yet the unprecedented buildup of border policing has taken place in an era otherwise defined by the opening of the border, most notably through NAFTA. This contrast creates a borderless economy with a barricaded border.

Peter Andreas argues that the sharp escalation in law enforcement provides a political mechanism for coping with the unintended consequences of past policy choices. Law enforcement is enthusiastically embraced as a remedy for the very problems state practices have helped to create. The high-profile display of force, Andreas emphasizes, has ultimately been less about deterring illegal crossings and more about re-crafting the image of the border and symbolically reaffirming the state's territorial authority.

Extending the analysis to the borders of the European Union, Andreas identifies different forms of law enforcement escalation that reflect distinct historical legacies and regional contexts. Andreas challenges the notion that borders are irrelevant in an age of globalization and stresses that, rather than eroding, some critical borders are being reinforced and remade.

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Border games: policing the U. S.-Mexico divide

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In recent years, the United States and Mexico significantly liberalized trade regulations via the NAFTA treaty while also increasing the policing of the border area to stop the smuggling of people ... Read full review


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