Conservative journalist Ann Coulter enjoyed each and every word she used to describe the satisfaction she would derive from watching undocumented people running along the U.S.-Mexico border in response to the threat of a drone that is pursuing them.
“I like the idea of the Great Wall of Trump,” commented Coulter in August of last year during the presentation by Republican candidate Donald Trump during a tour through Iowa. “I want to have a two drink minimum. Make it a big world-wide tourist attraction, and every day, live drone shows whenever anyone tries to cross the border,” she added.
This contemporary version of the Roman circus is but a sample of the relatively unknown turn being taken by the electoral rhetoric in the United States, based on what many would agree in identifying as the strategy of fear.
“I believe Mr. Trump is a spokesman for the discourse of fear. I believe he is a perfect example of how to instill fear in a community with some purpose that isn’t clearly visible for the population as a whole,” stated psychologist María Basualdo who works with agricultural immigrants in south Florida.
The rhetoric has been shown to be very effective in matters of politics and business. Trump has forced the rest of the Republican candidates to harden their anti-immigrant discourse, which is being reflected in greater contributions and more campaign followers. But fear mongering has also multiplied the earnings of an entire industry that profits from immigration control: companies providing protective services and border security, private detention centers, providers of bail bonds, as well as sellers of electronic ankle bracelets, immigration lawyers and charter airlines used to deport undocumented persons.
In the name of confronting the threat of illegal immigration, the federal government has also managed to increase the size of the bureaucratic machinery at such a rate that today federal agencies and programs dedicated to the matter of immigration have a budget that is greater than that of all other law enforcement agencies combined, according to a study by the Migration Policy Institute.
“There is a mythology that the government is not doing anything to control immigration and that it’s not a priority, that nothing has changed in recent decades for better control of the border,” explained Marc Rosenblum, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. “And the truth is that there has been a priority and very strong measures are being taken along the border and inside the country in order to control this and find undocumented people within.”
Smitten by the same discourse, states are beginning to try to see if, by citing the fearsome encroachment by the undocumented, it will also work for seeking budgetary allocations for the local governments. In this way, Texas has managed to have a total of 900 million dollars approved for operations that include patrol officers who now show very little activity because the flow of immigrants has diminished, and they end up just issuing traffic tickets. The disproportion between the expenditure and the operations is such that an arrest may end up having a cost of a little under half a million dollars.
“The rhetoric is working because, unfortunately, many times people react when a message is based on fear and not because one always feels insecure in life,” states Tania Galloni, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Florida. “And it’s much easier if I can blame another person for the insecurity I feel in my life.”
At the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a conservative organization, the situation has apocalyptic inklings. “When the public becomes fearful that we have lost control of our borders and have lost our ability of self-determination as a nation, you have planted the seeds of the convulsion, the political convulsion,” Dan Stein said to Univision. He is the director of the institution that has been challenged for allegedly inspiring theories of white race supremacy.
For several weeks reporters from Univision Investiga travelled throughout the United States and Mexico in order to gain an understanding of how the business of fear mongering operates. They followed the path of an undocumented Guatemalan family through the labyrinth of this industry; they spoke with representatives from organizations belonging to both extremes of this controversy; they consulted with members of Congress, economists and other experts, in addition to reviewing hundreds of legal and accounting documents.Deportation inc | Deportation inc: