No Wall They Can Build, Episode 7


Designed to Kill, Part I – Who Benefits?

Listen to the Episode — 44 min


Welcome to Episode 7 of No Wall They Can Build, the Ex-Worker Podcast’s serialized audiobook exploring borders and migration across North America. The Border Patrol, with its swollen budget and lavish technologies, clearly has the technical capacity to stop most, if not all, traffic across the border, yet their behavior seems to be at odds with their stated objective. This installment investigates the actual goal of border policy—which is not to end “illegal immigration,” but to control and manage it. While preventing this migration altogether would have catastrophic effects on the US economy, using selective enforcement to funnel traffic into increasingly remote areas while militarizing and hyper-policing certain areas maintains the labor supply while ratcheting up the profits to be made at every step in the process. A variety of stories—some heartbreaking, some hilarious—illustrate how this approach to enforcement impacts the lives of everyday people as they attempt to travel north into the United States. This episode identifies the various parties—both Republicans and Democrats, private prison and tech corporations, Mexican officials and cartels—who benefit from this counter-intuitive and cruel border policy… while reminding us of its horrific cost in human lives.

Notes and Links

  • Table of Contents:
    • “Answer the Question of Who Benefits or Profits Most…” {0:01}
    • Introduction {0:24}
    • Designed to Kill: Who Benefits? {0:53}
    • Story #1: Lost in the Desert {3:01}
    • The Real Objective of the Border Patrol {4:27}
    • Why No One Really Wants to Stop “Illegal Immigration” {6:20}
    • The Politics and Economics of Border Policy {10:03}
    • Story #2: Desperation {20:00}
    • The Profits of Border Militarization {23:35}
    • Dangers Along the Trail {28:00}
    • Story #3: Good Guides and Bad Guides {30:59}
    • The Unholy Trinity: Governments, Corporations, Cartels {33:07}
    • Story #3: Nacho, Chucho, and Don Bigotes {35:32}
    • Conclusion {42:54}
  • Important Action Alert: No More Deaths is asking that supporters around the US take a moment this week and next week to call the US Attorney’s office in Arizona to demand that the government drop all charges against volunteer Scott Warren, who faces felony charges for humanitarian aid work in the desert. Please follow this link for contact information and a script to follow when you call. It will only take a moment, but will be an important gesture of solidarity. Please do it!

  • Content advisory: in the section “Dangers Along the Trail,” beginning around 28:00, there is a brief discussion of the forms of violence, including sexual assault, to which migrants are vulnerable when crossing through the desert.

  • For this audiobook, we will not provide full transcripts of the text of each episode as we do for The Ex-Worker or The Hotwire. If you want to read along, you can find the book in PDF. This week’s episode covers pages 115 to 140.

  • Episodes 7 and 8 comprise Designed to Kill, which was originally released as a ‘zine in 2011. You can read or print the zine version here.

  • You can check out our poster diagramming the North American border regime and immigrant solidarity stickers.

  • Stay tuned next week for Episode 8: Designed to Kill, Part II – The Border Patrol, The Game, and The Desert.