Payan traces the history of these policies on the border to discern and understand the evolutionary patterns and common threads that join all three policies together today. He argues that historically the border has experienced a gradual tightening and increasing militarization, culminating in today's restrictive environment. This book illuminates the ways in which border residents are coping with the stricter border security environment, and how they navigate their daily lives in the face of an increasing number of federal bureaucrats and programs designed to close the border. It examines the significant conflict between the government's efforts to close the border and the border communities' efforts to open it."
Tony Payan is Assistant Professor of International Relations and Foreign Policy at the University of Texas, El Paso. He is the author of Cops, Soldiers, and Diplomats: Explaining Agency Behavior in the Drug War (2006).
Combining depth and breadth, the book covers the economic relationship between Mexico and the United States, the deployment of technology, the bureaucratic interests that control the border landscape, the democratic deficit, and a detrimental lack of policy coordination. Issues such as drug trafficking and homeland security are considered as well. Demonstrating the internal and contradictory logic of American policy toward the border, the author argues that current conditions could lead to a return of authoritarianism in Mexico and a concurrent rise in anti-American sentiment.