The government shutdown is over at last, thanks to Democrats who brokered a deal to keep Trump happy and get America back to work. That deal didn’t include even one penny for a physical wall along the border, as demanded by numerous constituents — but it did contain what’s being billed as funding for a “smart wall.”
Democrats figure that since they can’t reason with the president, they’ll match his $5.7 billion figure with a funding bill that enhances “border security,” but doesn’t contribute to building an actual wall.
If you’re wondering what the heck a “smart wall” is, you’re not alone. Most people don’t really understand what the term means — and that’s by design from both sides of the wall.
While a “smart wall” isn’t a physical barrier, it’s every bit as racist, unproductive and horrific as a physical wall. The concept draws on the apparatus of the security state to normalize the militarization of the border with 21st century technology.
We don’t know what this “enhanced border” or “smart wall” might look like exactly, but plans will roll out in coming weeks as Democrats attempt to appease the president’s border obsession with a compromise they think will be more palatable to Americans.
They say they care about border security too, so they’re pitching a large spending package on more personnel at the border, infrastructure investment at ports and checkpoints, and a whole lot of technology — specifically, drones and sensors.
To the Democrats’ credit, they also want to see more immigration judges to address the unconscionable backlog in immigration courts. And they’re calling for more humanitarian assistance for immigrants.
But back to the tech. Democrats are drawing upon the same tech tools that have been criticized by civil rights activists for years, but especially in this moment. And even members of Congress are correctly…