Book Review: Border Patrol Nation

Book Review: Border Patrol Nation

By David E. Roy

bp.coverThe title of the book Border Patrol Nation, written by Todd Miller and just published, is an apt description of what has happened since 9/11, most of it out of view. Here are a few facts Miller presents: While few know this, the Border Patrol (BP) has had a 100-mile deep jurisdiction around the entire nation since 1953 (reaffirmed by the Supreme Court). In this zone, they are free to operate without constitutional limits on warrants for searches, probable cause and the like. In southern Arizona, they are driving dozens of SUVs across the fragile desert surface, destroying these once-protected ecosystems. Today, our northern border is being scrutinized as never before.

A few other tidbits:

  • In 1994, there were 4,000 agents; today, there are more than 21,000 and they aim for 40,000. They are called the foot soldiers for Homeland Security.
  • Billions of dollars are budgeted for newly invented equipment to detect and detain “terrorists” and others entering illegally.
  • The BP trains citizens to be “watchers” for them.
  • The BP sets up an intensely staffed perimeter at each Super Bowl and trains several thousand volunteers to be on the lookout for “suspicious people.”

Miller includes interviews with both BP personnel and the individuals and families being crushed by these actions.

Bottom line: No one with power is watching the watchers. Get the well-researched and well-written book and learn much more.


Ordained in the United Church of Christ, David Roy is a pastoral counselor and a California licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who directs the Center for Creative Transformation. He has a Ph.D. in theology and personality from the Claremont (California) School of Theology. Send comments to him at or 5475 N. Fresno St., Suite 109, Fresno, CA 93711.


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    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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