Turn a wall on its side, and you have a bridge. Of course, as Miller knows too well after covering border issues for 15 years, it’s not that simple. The world is suffering from a severe case of “wall sickness,” which fuels and is fueled by nationalism and xenophobia, afflicts nearly everyone whether they work or live near a border or not, diverts resources from, for instance, fighting climate change, to criminalizing climate refugees, and has caused the number of border walls worldwide since 1989 to grow from 15 to 70-plus. Focusing on Southwest desert crossings, Miller draws on a wide range of statistics, analysis, and, most powerfully, interviews with border agents, activists, refugees, and their families to examine arguments for and against open borders. Offering water to a dehydrated man, listening to a father’s anguish over a missing daughter, and recounting an agent’s epiphany when he watched an injured teenager die, Miller argues for the value of our common humanity, showing how we could reinvent the world by replacing competition with cooperation; as with Covid, to heal the ills of discrimination and division, we need to work together for everyone’s benefit.
Build Bridges, Not Walls, by Todd Miller
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Published: City Lights Books - April 6th, 2021