What struck me about Harry Reid’s outline for immigration reform besides the weird, almost medieval, militant framing, like “Further Fortification of America’s Border,” is how some large group of military contractors are set to make a killing at the taxpayer’s expense if this bill ever passed:
As a result of this proposal, the Border Patrol will also receive substantial upgrades in technology—including: 1) clear and secure two-way communication capabilities among all border patrol agents conducting operations between ports of entry; 2) use of Department of Defense equipment at the border; and 3) increases in the number of sport utility vehicles, helicopters, power boats, river boats, portable computers to track illegal immigrants and drug smugglers while inside of a border patrol vehicle, night vision equipment, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS), scope trucks, and Mobile Surveillance Systems (MSS).
High tech drones, Department of Defense equipment, helicopters–this sounds like an extremely expensive complete militarization of our border. When you are talking about this kind of a bonanza for military equipment makers, my first though is the old expression about understanding politics by “following the money.” I’m left wondering if this is meant to be an immigration bill, or the defense contractor profit protection and employment act of 2010.
With the chances of passing comprehensive immigration reform this year appearing next to zero right now, supporters of the effort can at least take heart in the knowledge that a lot of big defense contractor lobbyists are probably drooling at that thought of all the border militarization money, and will be fighting hard for it. If we ever eventually do end our deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, those defense contractors are going to need to find a new justification for why Congress should buy billions of their toys. This border militarization immigrant reform bill sounds like it would fit the bill nicely.
Of course, if the Democrats stick to the strategy they used on health care, they will kick their own base in the teeth, tack way to the right, and waste billions of dollars by funneling it to well-connected corporations. We could actually have a bill labeled “immigration reform” this year, but it will just be a plan to stick a hundred billion dollars worth of high-tech military robots every ten feet in the desert, and provide a handful of new H1-B visas to the tech companies.