Militarization of the US-Mexico Border, 1978-1992

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University of Texas Press, 1996 - History - 307 pages
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This provocative study argues that during the 1978-1992 period, U.S. immigration and drug enforcement policies and practices in the U.S.-Mexico border region became increasingly militarized. Timothy J. Dunn examines these policies and practices in detail and also considers them in relation to the strategy and tactics of the Pentagon doctrine of "low-intensity conflict." Developed during the 1980s for use in Central America and elsewhere, this doctrine is characterized by broad-ranging provisions for establishing social control over specific civilian populations, and its implementation has often been accompanied by widespread human rights violations. Dunn demonstrates that U.S. immigration and drug enforcement practices in the southwestern border region have coincided with many key features of low-intensity conflict doctrine. His findings are supported extensively by material from U.S. government documents, investigative reports from mainstream and alternative presses, interviews with federal law enforcement personnel in South Texas, and reports from human rights advocacy organizations. The study reflects a concern for human rights conditions in the U.S.-Mexico border region and is informed by the belief that the "official" story is usually but one version of events and should not be accepted uncritically.

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About the author (1996)

TIMOTHY J. DUNN is Associate Professor of Sociology at Salisbury University in Maryland.

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