After seeing the difference in photographs of the U.S./Mexican border in the past and present, I decided to take a closer look at how 9/11 impacted American public opinion on immigration. I’m linking an article that brings up some interesting points about discriminatory government policies that take place after 9/11. Here are some highlights:
“In 2001, there were roughly 18,000 criminal deportations compared to a projected 91,000 in 2012 — roughly a 400 percent increase, according to data from TRAC.”
“With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security came an avalanche of federal funding. Last year, a pair of economists estimated that the creation of Homeland Security cost the U.S. $589 billion from 2001-2011. Immigration enforcement increased dramatically after September 11. Immigrant removals — including deportations and so-called voluntary departures — went from roughly 200,000 people in 2001 to nearly double that in 2011.”
“An investigation by The Huffington Post into private detention centers in Arizona found a discomforting relationship between corporate profits and private prison growth. Chris Kirkham reports:
In Washington, the industry’s lobbyists have influenced policy to secure growing numbers of federal inmates in its facilities, while encouraging Congress to increase funding for detention bedspace. Here in this southern Arizona community, private prison companies share the spoils of their business with the local government, effectively giving area law enforcement an incentive to apprehend as many undocumented immigrants as they can.
This confluence of forces has contributed to a doubling of the ranks of immigrant detainees, to about 400,000 a year. Nearly half are now held in private prisons, up from one-fourth a decade ago, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The two largest for-profit prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group, Inc., have more than doubled their revenues from the immigrant detention business since 2005, according to securities filings.”
To add to this, I also think back to an article I read a while ago. It referenced a futuristic movie, Airplane II: The Sequel, released in the 80’s with a comedic scene that takes place (obviously) in an airport. The airport security use a body scanner that produces images of passengers’ naked bodies, and the joke lies in the male security guard checking out the female passengers. The author of the article brought up two points, saying that he never would have believed someone if they had told him that this technology would real in just a few decades. More specifically, it would be more surprising to learn that not only would we be made to display our naked body to airport security, but almost everyone who flies by plane would be ok with it. I completely agree that I would not have seen this as a possibility a couple decades ago, and I wonder whether 9/11 was the major influencing factor there. If the public couldn’t be persuaded by threats of a plane going down if everyone didn’t follow through with this process, I doubt that anyone would be on board for the current TSA policies in airports today.