The borderland is militarized

When I have rarely visited people living in gated communities – it has been primarily in Metro Manila and Mexico City – I've wondered each time how one might want to live in a place where armed guards block access to one's own home. Where one's guests must submit to inspection and show ID and write their name on a list to visit.

Of course, you get used to it if you choose to label it yourself, but I never would in life. Choose it, that is, and hardly ever get used to it if I was forced to. Men with guns don't make me feel safe, and inspection makes me feel criminal and powerless against arbitrary sanctions.

This is how many people do it in the US-Mexico border, and they have not chosen to live in anything that others have turned into a war zone – where private and public property, public access roads and nature reserves are cut by checkpoints, fences and cinquefoil.

Ten years of militarization

Donald Trump has made himself (unluckily) noticed with many things, but his statements about Mexico, Mexicans and the border wall he wants his neighbors to the south to pay for have been a recurring theme. Nevertheless – contrary to what one might be led to believe – it is not Trump's ingenuity to build that wall.

In fact, there are already fences and walls in the southern United States, not least in Texas and Arizona, the states that share the longest border with Mexico. How it affects the locals on the American side, describes the new book Fencing. . .

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