Time and time again on the campaign trail, Donald Trump has called for building "the great wall of Trump" on the U.S./Mexico border. This would require the construction of almost 2,000 miles of wall in hostile desert terrain. And Trump is not alone in his calls for ramping up "border security." Ben Carson, the other leading Republican candidate, has called for using drones at the border. This is all to block out a country that we are not at war with -- and who is our third largest trading partner in the world.
In the new short documentary Border Inc., Brave New Films exposes how the last three decades of immigration politics in this country have created a massive payday for military contractors and wasted millions of taxpayer dollars in this business operation fueled by xenophobia and greed. Should any of these new ideas of presidential candidates become reality, the jackpots for companies will soar even higher, as taxpayers see a larger portion of their checks going to this effort.
So who exactly profits from erecting a wall along the border that costs $3 to $7 million per mile?
Unsurprisingly, many of the same companies that profit from wars much further away are also the ones profiting from this border war. For instance, a subsidiary of Halliburton was paid $30 million a year to maintain the wall. What does maintenance include, you ask? We will likely never know. Between April 1 and June 30 of 2013 -- as the Senate was debating and eventually passing the bill -- defense contractor Northrop Grumman spent $3.5 million on lobbying; United Technologies paid $2.29 million, and EADS North America put in $906,440. No company would spend that type of money on a single issue if they couldn't make the money back exponentially with additional lucrative government contracts.*
So as you hear the ongoing dialogue about immigration reform and border security, keep who is profiting from these proposals in the forefront of your mind. Watch Border, Inc. and decide for yourself if you want to spend your hard-earned dollars on a cultural war based on racist fear-mongering and lining the pockets of war profiteers.
*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this blog included unverified numbers. The current blog reflects those changes.